“TIME FOR A REAL CHECKUP”                  By Pastor YAU

Text: Hebrews 4:12-16                                      December 28, 2008.

 

INTRODUCTION:

1)   A medical procedure: A man, complaining pain in his upper chest, went to see his doctor. After some preliminary tests, the doctor recommended that he need to have a procedure called laryngoscopy. This is a procedure that the doctor will take a camera and stick it down his throat to the upper respiratory area to find out if there is any problem or dangerous tissue in the area that may be the cause of his pain. This is an exploratory procedure to determine the cause of a health problem that is necessary before a treatment plan can be recommended.

2)   A spiritual procedure: More than 2,000 years ago, God, the greatest physician, recommended a procedure important to spiritual health checkup for all His people. This procedure is called spiritual examination using the Word of God, the Bible to penetrate into the deepest part of a man’s heart, mind and thoughts to find out if there is any dangerous cell or tissue that is causing problem in the spiritual growth. When this is done, then a proper treatment plan may be recommended.

 

THE RECOMMENDED CHECKUP:

1)   What is the checkup? The spiritual examination is a routine procedure all Christians need to have frequently to maintain a healthy spiritual condition. It is done by reading the Bible on a regular basis, meditate on its meaning and draw lessons for spiritual growth. Our spiritual life is very much like our physical body that needs regular provision of spiritual food for growth and spiritual medicine for prevention of spiritual diseases. “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword. It penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitude of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

2)   Who needs the checkup? Every Christians who is serious of his/her spiritual growth and usefulness in God’s kingdom and the rewards he/she may receive from God when he/she meets God face to face in the final day. God will reward the faithful and the fruitful with crowns of glory as He will give to Paul. Paul encouraged the early Christians and all of us by definition that we need to keep ourselves strong and healthy spiritually. He said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord will award to me on that day-not just to me but also to all who has longed for his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7-8)

3)   Why do we need the checkup? The Bible has many warnings on the pitfalls and encouragements on the benefits of Christian spiritual growth. “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 4:8) We also need to be “in the Lord so we may bear more fruits.” (John 15:4) God also encouraged Joshua to be diligent in His word, “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” (Joshua 1:8)

4)   Where to get the checkup? You don’t need to go to see a doctor for a spiritual checkup or have the spiritual procedure. Here are some suggestions you may want to consider. First and the foremost, you can do it yourself. You can study the Word of God by yourself regularly, better in the morning, to start your day. You may also join a Bible study class on Sunday morning or Friday night to deepen your understanding with a teacher and other brothers and sisters. You also can be benefited from attending worship services every Sunday and learn about the Bible in a deeper way from your pastor. You may also discuss the Bible with other Christians to gain insights. If you have a heart to learn and use the Bible, you will find ways to do so.

 

THE BENEFITS OF THIS CHECKUP:

1)   See your true condition: Most people go to checkups not because of serious illness but to see their true physical condition. Same is the spiritual checkup: to see how is inside of us. While it is important to see that we are physically OK, it is also important to know that we are OK in our spiritual condition. Too often, we are too busy or naive to think that we are alright in our spiritual walk with God. But we won’t truly know if we neglect our regular checkups with God. Many otherwise “good” Christians have sloped downhill without knowing because they neglect regular checkups.

2)   Find out anything wrong: Physical health deteriorates due to natural process, environmental pollution, taking wrong kind of food and living in undesirable life style. Spiritual life also suffers the similar damages. Prolonged negligence from reading His word, not worshipping and serving God, getting too close to the world or just being self-centered. Taking in wrong ideas and priorities and living your life far away from God, His teaching and guidance. Regular spiritual checkups help to find out the wrongs or spiritual diseases on your inside so you may take steps to correct them.

3)   Take correcting steps: The Bible does more than finding the wrongs in our spiritual condition, it also provides plans to correct spiritual diseases. God is never interested in showing our faults. He is more interested in helping us correct the wrongs to grow healthier, stronger and be happier Christians. Do not just look at the mirror and see the wrongs in your face. It is necessary to go and wash it clean to maintain your good look. Same is in your spiritual checkup. When you see something is wrong on the inside, take steps to change life direction and values so you become healthier Christians.

4)   Have the peace of mind: Although no one may earn credit or reward from God by doing his best, to know that we are right with God on the inside gives us peace of mind no other things on earth may give. King David asked God to “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24) When we allow God’s word to search our inner being and make sure it is right with God, that heavenly peace of mind is beyond any imagination.

 

THE CHECKUP PROCEDURES: (Hebrews 4:12-16)

1)   The right instrument: “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow.” (4:12a)This verifies the Chinese saying on the importance of doing a good job is to have the right tools. Not any other instrument in this world may search and divide and penetrate the human soul and spirit as the word of God can. If you are serious about knowing what is inside of you, there is only one tool you need: the Bible.

2)   The right purpose: “It judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (4:12b)Reading, meditating and applying the word of God need to have the correct purpose: to judge our thoughts and attitude. Among all the functions of the Bible, it helps us to see if our thoughts and attitude are in the right places. Our thoughts represent our values and direction of life. Attitude represents our expression of thoughts to God, people and everything else surrounding us. The word of God sets the standard by which we think, see, act, react, choose and relate to others. When we use the Bible for checkup, we need to know our purpose of doing so: to judge thoughts and attitude.

3)   The right patient: “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of God to whom we must give account.” (4:13)This is about our willingness to face God’s word, being the right patient to receive the best results: we must be totally honest, open and cooperative to God when we apply His word in our life. Anything pretentious, dishonesty or finger-pointing will result in failure of the checkup. The quality of results of any checkup or test or treatment depends largely on the honesty and willingness and cooperation of the patient. Don’t hide.

4)   The right physician: “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God.” (4:14)Jesus is the best physician of all time who is the Son of God. He knows our hearts, thoughts and attitude much better than we know ourselves. We can trust Him by being totally open and honest with him so He can help us correct our soul, thoughts and attitude.

5)   The right compassion: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way just as we are, yet without sin.” (4:15)All patients love to see their doctors compassionate and understanding. No human doctor may compare to Jesus in his compassion and understanding of our weakness and frailty. Being tested in every way but had not sinned, Jesus can understand our human weakness as we face temptation and trials.

6)   The right confidence: “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (4:16)There is not need to be afraid to see our Lord for spiritual checkups. He is more than ready to give us grace and mercy for all our needs, physical and spiritual. Jesus promised us, “All the Father has given me will come to me and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” (John 6:37)

 

CONCLUSION:

1)   Good time for checkup: Many businesses will have their end of the year assessment to determine gains and/or losses of the year to see the true picture of their business. Christians should also do the same to examine our spiritual condition by comparing it with the word of God. We need to do this every now and then to see our true spiritual picture and find ways to rid of anything that may hinder or hurting our spiritual growth. Do not pretend that all are well and ignore warning signs that may hinder our progress in our spiritual pursuit.

2)   Good time to clean up: If your doctor finds anything wrong inside of you, you will always ask him to get rid of them as soon as possible so you may regain your health and strength. Do it likewise with your spiritual condition. Using the Spirit of God as your guide, the Bible as your instrument and ask Jesus as your physician to help you change your purpose, direction and ways of life. Confess to Him all the sins in you and ask Him to be the Lord of your life in 2009 so you will become a new person in the New Year.

3)   Good time to be saved: If you have been waiting for the best time to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, this is the best time to do so. Before the beginning of a New Year, you want to start the New Year with a new life in Jesus. Surrender your life and will to Him, ask Him to forgive your sins and to lead your life to the fullest extend and becoming fruitful and meaningful. Don’t wait for another opportunity like this one.