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SermonSpiritual Examination
An all-creatures Bible Message

Spiritual Examination
 
A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
 
31 July 2016
 
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References

Psalm 49:1-12
Psalm 107:39- 43
Ecclesiastes 2:18-26
Luke 12:13-21

Spiritual examination is something we should be constantly doing; it is a self-diagnosis of ourselves as children of God, similar to the physical examinations we receive from our doctor, but in this case we are using the heavenly spiritual tools that God gives us.
 
When Jesus told us in Matthew 5:48 that we are to be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect, He was telling us that we all need a spiritual examination every day, and probably we need it more than once a day.
 
When Paul reminded us in 1 Corinthians that we have the mind of Christ, He was telling us that we should be able to think just like Jesus so that we know the heavenly will of God in and for our lives, which is a key tool for giving ourselves a spiritual examination.
 
When we are told, as in Psalm 94:11, that the Lord knows the thoughts of man, we are being told that, as children of God, we are to use this heavenly power to direct our lives, and to preform our own spiritual examination.
 
We should always be living in the heavenly will of God and doing everything we legally can to free creation from its present corruption, which causes so much pain, suffering, bloodshed, and death for millions of human beings and billions of animals every year, as well as destroying our environment.
 
With these things in mind, let’s look at Psalm 49:1-12…

1. Hear this, all peoples;
Give ear, all inhabitants of the world,
 
2. Both low and high,
Rich and poor together.

The animals are also inhabitants of the world; is the psalmist also addressing them?
 
We sure hope so, because the psalmist definitely is addressing all inhabitants of the world without any distinction.

3. My mouth will speak wisdom;
And the meditation of my heart will be understanding.

We can all do this, if we do a spiritual examination upon ourselves, and are living in the heavenly will of God; and if we are, then we would also include all the animals, and do everything in our power to free them and the rest of creation from its present corruption.

4. I will incline my ear to a proverb;
I will express my riddle on the harp.
 
5. Why should I fear in days of adversity,
When the iniquity of my foes surrounds me,
 
6. Even those who trust in their wealth,
And boast in the abundance of their riches?

If we are truly children of God, then we will never have fear of the corrupt and worldly ways around us.

7. No man can by any means redeem his brother,
Or give to God a ransom for him — 

This is because each and every one of us is responsible for our own soul and spirit, and our relationship with God.
 
We can guide others to the heavenly will of God and how He wants us to live here on earth, but we do not have the power to redeem them for that is between them and the Lord.
 
This is also why a spiritual examination is so important in our own lives, for we all must clean our own minds and bodies of the corrupt ways of the world.

8. For the redemption of his soul is costly,
And he should cease trying forever — 
 
9. That he should live on eternally;
That he should not undergo decay.

This is only possible in heaven, for our physical bodies all will decay.

10. For he sees that even wise men die;
The stupid and the senseless alike perish,
And leave their wealth to others.
 
11. Their inner thought is, that their houses are forever,
And their dwelling places to all generations;
They have called their lands after their own names.
 
12. But man in his pomp will not endure;
He is like the beasts that perish.
NASB

This is so obvious to the children of God that we find it very strange that relatively few people living in the world seem to recognize the truth; they reject a spiritual examination and the truth.
 
We should all know that there is no pain or death in heaven, and yet most people turn a blind eye to the suffering of animals for human lust and greed.
 
Animals were created by God to be our companions and not our commodities.
 
We need to do a lot of spiritual examination to end this exploitation of animals.
 
These same kinds of thoughts are expressed in Psalm 107:39-43…

39. When they are diminished and bowed down
Through oppression, misery, and sorrow,

Instead of living in the heavenly will of God, most people allow the corruption of this earth to overtake them before they seek God; and unfortunately, when the Lord does help them, most of them return to living in the corrupt ways of the world around them.
 
This is why…

40. He pours contempt upon princes,
And makes them wander in a pathless waste.
 
41. But He sets the needy securely on high away from affliction,
And makes his families like a flock.

The people of those days considered it a blessing from God to have a large family, but this doesn’t make the family or its members righteous.

42. The upright see it, and are glad;
But all unrighteousness shuts its mouth.
 
43. Who is wise? Let him give heed to these things;
And consider the lovingkindnesses of the LORD.
NASB

This is another reason that we all need spiritual examination.
 
Solomon, the son of David, became king of Israel, and seemed to be using spiritual examination of his soul and spirit, for he only asked God for wisdom so he could best rule over Israel, but God also gave him wealth along with wisdom, and its benefits also led him to follow the corrupt ways of the world until, in later life, he once again seemed to incorporate spiritual examination into his life, which we can see reflected in Ecclesiastes 2:18-26…

18. Thus I hated all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun, for I must leave it to the man who will come after me.

Instead of enjoying the benefits of his efforts, Solomon still seems to be greedy, for he also realizes that he cannot live forever, and that his wealth will pass on to his heirs.
 
Could this also be the beginning of his reflection on the heavenly will of God?
 
So Solomon continues pondering what he has done in his life, and those who inherit what he has.

19. And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the fruit of my labor for which I have labored by acting wisely under the sun. This too is vanity.

We hope we all see the conflict Solomon is having between the accomplishments he made, and the return of spiritual examination in his life, for he now sees that the pride he has had in his accomplishments is nothing but vanity.

20. Therefore I completely despaired of all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun.
 
21. When there is a man who has labored with wisdom, knowledge and skill, then he gives his legacy to one who has not labored with them. This too is vanity and a great evil.
 
22. For what does a man get in all his labor and in his striving with which he labors under the sun?
 
23. Because all his days his task is painful and grievous; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is vanity.

We should also see that Solomon recognizes the heavenly will of God, but he also seems to have one foot in the world.
 
He seems to want to live in God’s heavenly will, but at the same time he doesn’t seem to want to let go of things of the world.

24. There is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink and tell himself that his labor is good. This also I have seen, that it is from the hand of God.
 
25. For who can eat and who can have enjoyment without Him?
 
26. For to a person who is good in His sight He has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, while to the sinner He has given the task of gathering and collecting so that he may give to one who is good in God's sight. This too is vanity and striving after wind.
NASB

Wealth is not bad if used to help further the heavenly will of God in everything we do and say.
 
The conflict Solomon seems to be having is that he knows that everything he has came from God, but at the same time, he still considers it to be his own.
 
He also seems to be troubled by the fact that he believes that his son will live a worldly life similar to how he has lived before coming to his senses.
 
In Luke 12:13-21, Jesus is discussing spiritual examination in another way.

13. And someone in the crowd said to Him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me."
 
14. But He said to him, "Man, who appointed Me a judge or arbiter over you?" 

Jesus recognizes that this person is living in the corrupt and evil ways of this world, and wants the people to understand how God wants us to live.

15. And He said to them, "Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions." 

Everything we have really belongs to God; it has been given to us to use in furthering the heavenly will of God in our own lives and in the lives of others, including the animals.

16. And He told them a parable, saying, "The land of a certain rich man was very productive.

Jesus is talking about someone who is caught up in the ways of the world.

17. "And he began reasoning to himself, saying, 'What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?'
 
18. "And he said, 'This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.

I hope we all see the wastefulness in this man’s reasoning; he could have just built another barn instead of tearing down any of the old barns, and the excess money he could have used to help others in a Godly manner.

19. 'And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry." '

Instead of doing a spiritual examination on himself, and devoting his life to making this a more peaceful, kind, and gentle world, he only wants to sit back and enjoy his worldly gains.

20. "But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?'
 
21. "So is the man who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."
NASB

These kinds of people are the ones that further corrupt this world.
 
They refuse to do a spiritual examination on themselves, because they love the things and ways of this world more than they love God.
 
We are not to be like them.
 
We should be doing a spiritual examination on ourselves at least once a day.
 
We are to be the peacemaking children of God for the benefit of the whole of creation (humans, animals, and the environment).
 
Amen.

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