I. THE DIFFICULTY OF SELF EXAMINATION.
A. Socrates cried, "Man know thyself."
1. I would suggest that this is the hardest bit of information you can ever discover.
2. Should you discover it, you will find that it is the most painful information that you could ever know.
B. Why is it so difficult to know ourselves?
The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it?
1. The Lord said to Jeremiah, "I the Lord do search the heart and try the reins."
2. The Lord puts us to the test to show us what is truely in our heart.
And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, [and] to prove thee, to know what [was] in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.
a. The purpose was not that God might know what was in their heart, He already knew.
b. They were the ones that did not know the truth about themselves, God put them through the testings so that they could know what God already knew.
3. Jesus showed that He knew Peter better than Peter knew himself. Jesus had said to His disciples, "All of you will be offended this night because of Me." Peter answered, "Though they may all be offended, I would never be offended, I would die for you."
a. Jesus said to Peter, "Will you die for Me? Before the cock crows you will have denied Me three times."
b. Peter answered indignantly, "Though they would kill me, I would never deny You." I believe that Peter was perfectly sincere when he made that boast.
c. Peter was allowed to be put through the test that he might see the truth about himself that Jesus already knew.
4. As Jesus spoke to the seven churches of Asia in Revelation chapters two and three, over and over He repeated those penetrating words, "I know thy works."
a. They did not hide the truth from Him.
b. Where they were saying of themselves, "We are rich, and increased with goods and in need of nothing," Jesus said, "You are poor and wretched."
5. In the psalm that we read this morning David said, "You have searched me and known me, you know my downsittings and uprisings. You understand my thoughts afar off. Such knowledge is to wonderful for me, I cannot attain it."
a. What knowledge is to great for him to attain? Self knowledge.
b. Who and what I really am.
6. It is so hard to be totally honest with ourselves.
a. We as Peter usually have an inflated opinion of ourselves.
b. Paul tells us,
For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think [of himself] more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly.
c. I saw an article in the paper yesterday of a man who has just been arrested on his 12th drunk driving charge. He stated, I can quit drinking any time I want. He is deceiving only himself.
d. So often we hear people deny their addictions. They boast that they are in control, they deny their helplessness.
e. The problem with this is that it makes it so hard for them to ever get free, for they never see the need to reach out beyond themselves.
7. At the end of Psalm 139
David prayed, "Search me O God and know my heart, try me and know my thoughts, and see if there be any wicked way in me."
II. THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF EXAMINATION.
A. We really cannot begin to deal with our problems until we are aware of them and are willing to acknowledge them.
1. In Psalm 32
David spoke of seeking to hide his sin, the result was:
a. The hand of God was heavy upon him.
b. His bones felt like they were roaring.
c. He became as spiritually dry as the draught in summertime.
2. When he decided to confess his sin, he found that God completely forgave him.
a. He spoke of the extreme joy of having your transgressions forgiven and your sins covered.
b. The joy of renewed fellowship with God.
c. John speaks of this in his first letter. He spoke of the fullness of joy that comes from fellowship with God. He then said that if say that we have fellowship with God yet we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not the truth, but if we walk in the light as He is in the light we have fellowship one with another and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.
B. Verse 31, for if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
1. There is coming a day of judgment.
a. If you think that you are getting by with your evil, you are only deceiving yourself.
b. Don't mistake the patience of God for blindness. He sees.
c. Don't mistake the longsuffering of God as ignorance, He knows.
d. Don't mistake the longsuffering of God as condoning.
e. Don't mistake the longsuffering of God as weakness.
2. Paul declared to the Athenian philosophers on Mars hill that there was coming a day when God would judge the world in righteousness through the One that He had ordained.
a. In Proverbs we read, "He who seeks to cover his sins, shall not prosper, but whoever confesses his sins the same shall be forgiven."
b. Only one of two things can happen to your sins. They will either be forgiven by your confessing them to Jesus Christ or, one day you will stand before God to be judged for them.
3. Paul has declared that if we will judge ourselves, we would not be judged.
a. Examine your heart this morning, better yet, as with David, ask the Lord to examine your heart that He might reveal to you what He knows about you.
b. It is not what you think about yourself that counts, but what does God think about you?
c. As with the church of Laodicea you may be thinking one thing and He another.
d. As God reveals the truth.
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.