Volume. XXVII, No. 37
Sunday, 10 March 2013

Directions for Self-Examination - Part 1

"Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." (Psalm 139:23-24)

Whether we do not live in some way of sin is a difficult thing to be known. But it is not a matter of so much difficulty, but that if persons were sufficiently concerned about it, and strict and thorough in inquiring and searching, it might, for the most part, be discovered. Men might know whether they live in any way of sin or not. Persons who are deeply concerned to please and obey God, need not, under the light we enjoy, go on in the ways of sin through ignorance.

It is true that our hearts are exceedingly deceitful. But God, in His holy word, hath given that light with respect to our duty, which is accommodated to the state of darkness in which we are. So that by thorough care and inquiry, we may know our duty, and know whether or no we live in any sinful way. And everyone who hath any true love to God and his duty will be glad of assistance in this inquiry. It is with such persons a concern which lies with much weight upon their spirits, in all things to walk as God would have them, and so as to please and honor him. If they live in any way which is offensive to God, they will be glad to know it, and do by no means choose to have it concealed from them.

All those also, who in good earnest make the inquiry, What shall I do to be saved? will be glad to know whether they do not live in some sinful way of behavior. For if they live in any such way, it is a great disadvantage to them with respect to that great concern. It behooves everyone who is seeking salvation, to know and avoid every sinful way in which he lives. The means by which we must come to the knowledge of this are two, viz. the knowledge of the rule, and the knowledge of ourselves.

Reflect Upon Your Own Life

First, evermore to join self-reflection with reading and hearing the Word of God. When you read or hear, reflect on yourselves as you go along, comparing yourselves and your own ways with what you read or hear. Reflect and consider what agreement or disagreement there is between the word and your ways. The Scriptures testify against all manner of sin and contain directions for every duty. As the apostle saith, "And is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (2 Tim 3:16). Therefore when you there read the rules given us by Christ and
his apostles, reflect and consider, each one of you with himself, Do I live according to this rule? Or do I live in any respect contrary to it?

When you read in the historical parts of Scripture an account of the sins of which others have been guilty, reflect on yourselves as you go along, and inquire whether you do not in some degree live in the same or like practices. When you there read accounts how God reproved the sins of others, and executed judgments upon them for their sins, examine whether you be not guilty of things of the same nature. When you read the examples of Christ, and of the saints recorded in Scripture, inquire whether you do not live in ways contrary to those examples. When you read there how God commended and rewarded any persons for their virtues and good deeds, inquire whether you perform those duties for which they were commended and rewarded, or whether you do not live in the contrary sins or vices. Let me further direct you, particularly to read the Scriptures to these ends, that you may compare and examine yourselves in the manner now mentioned.

So if you would know whether you do not live in some way of sin, whenever you hear any sin testified against, or any duty urged, in the preaching of the word, be careful to look back upon yourselves, to compare yourselves, and your own ways with what you hear, and strictly examine yourselves, whether you live in this or the other sinful way which you hear testified against, and whether you do this duty which you hear urged. Make use of the word as a glass, wherein you may behold yourselves.

How few are there who do this as they ought to do! who, while the minister is testifying against sin, are busy with themselves in examining their own hearts and ways! The generality rather think of others, how this or that person lives in a manner contrary to what is preached. So that there may be hundreds of things delivered in the preaching of the word, which properly belong to them, and are well suited to their cases, yet it never so much as comes into their minds, that what is delivered any way concerns them. Their minds readily fix upon others, and they can charge them, but never think whether or no they themselves be the persons.

How Does Your Life Compare with the Godly Brethren’s?

Second, if you live in any ways which are generally condemned by the better and more sober sort of men, be especially careful to inquire concerning these, whether they be not ways of sin. Perhaps you have argued with yourselves that such or such a practice is lawful. You cannot see any evil in it. However, if it be generally condemned by godly ministers, and the better more pious sort of people, it certainly looks suspicious, whether or no there be not some evil in it. So that you may well be put upon inquiring with the utmost strictness, whether it be not sinful. The practice being so generally disapproved of by those who in such cases are most likely to be in the right, may reasonably put you upon more than ordinarily nice and diligent inquiry concerning the lawfulness or unlawfulness of it.

Are You Ready to Meet the Lord Now?

Third, examine yourselves whether all the ways in which you live are likely to be pleasant to think of upon a deathbed. Persons often in health allow and plead for those things which they would not dare to do, if they looked upon themselves as shortly about to go out of the world. They in a great measure still their consciences as to ways in which they walk, and keep them pretty easy, while death is thought of as at a distance. Yet reflections on these same ways are very uncomfortable when they are going out of the world. Conscience is not so easily blinded and muffled then as at other times.

Consider therefore, and inquire diligently, whether or no you do not live in some practice or other, as to the lawfulness of which, when it shall come into your minds upon your death-bed, you will choose to have some further satisfaction, and some better argument than you now have, to prove that it is not sinful, in order to your being easy about it. Think over your particular ways, and try yourselves, with the awful expectation of soon going out of the world into eternity, and earnestly endeavor impartially to judge what ways you will on a death-bed approve of and rejoice in, and what you will disapprove of, and wish you had let alone.

To be continued…….By Jonathan Edwards, being an extract from his sermon entitled "Christian Caution." (Works 2.176-8) . Adapted by Pastor Weng


Ps Weng

More Lively Hope



*Kitchen Roster: Today’s Team Leader: Bro Phil Surman. Next Lord’s Day: Bro Raphael Ng

*Hope Bookstore: Open today: 12:30 - 1:45 pm.

*Combined Ebenezer-Hope Family Bible Camp Please register as soon as possible.

*Please note that Tiny Tots Sing-a-long will now start at 10:30 am.

Praise & Thanksgiving

1. Journey mercies: Bros Jonathan Yeo (Adl); Sisters Michelle Lee (Melb) & Catherine Teng (Adl); & others who have arrived safely.

2. Church Activities, in the past week.

3. God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.

4. Visitors & new worshippers.

 Prayer Items

1. Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev George van Buuren; Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe; Rev Pong Sen Yiew (S’pore); Rev & Mrs James White; Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser; Bro Len & Sis Margaret Pearson (Nursing Home); Preacher Zhang (Sihanoukville); Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Bros Elton Law & Kang Fun Tan (S’pore); Sisters Margaret Hooper, Lai Kheng Chiong (KL), Choon Fong Lee (KL), Susan Varadi (Nursing Home); Mr Swee Liang Ng (Bro Raphael’s father); Mr Mang Soo Ong (Sis Gillian Ong’s father); Mr Wong (Dn Wai Kin Wong’s father); Mrs Maggie D’Mello (Dn Edwin’s mother in Mumbai) & Mrs Chuilin Yap (Malacca); Mr Tony Zhang; & others in affliction.

2. Cambodia Missions - Rev Stephen Choi & Ministry; Bro Sun Sokha & Ministry (Phnom Penh).

3. Laos Missions: Bro Surish Dharmalingam & Ministry

4. Ministry in New Life BPC (London); Healing & health: Ps & Sis Ki.

5. Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions: Rev Keith Coleman, Board members & missionaries.

6. Presbyterian Missionary Union: Board & missionaries.

7. Batam Missions - Sis Ang Liang Phoa & Ministry.

8. iSketch&Tell Studio, YouTube Ministry & preparation for ordination - Pr HS Lim  (Melb, Vic).

9. House of Hope, Cebu - God’s guidance for counsellors, & drug addicts to receive Christ & be healed.

10. Ministry in Hope BPC - Ps & Sis Weng . 

11. Journey mercies: Bro Alfred & Sis Ruth Ngoma & Thoko (Zambia); & others who are travelling. 

12. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.

13. Full-time Job - Sisters Michelle Lee (Melb) & Corinne Teng; & others looking for  stable jobs.

14. Unity in doctrine & fellowship of all B-P Churches

15. Final weeks of pregnancy - Sis Kerrie Lam. Good labour & safe delivery.

16.  Australian work visas - Sisters Clara Sim & Felicia Tan

17. Australia - God’s wisdom for our nation’s leaders.

18. Uni students: for guidance in their studies.

19. Believers under persecution in Islamic & Communist countries.

20. Hopefuls - to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.



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