Picture of Pastor Gettys

Sermon delivered December 14, 2002 by Pastor Donald J. Gettys

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Biblical quotations are from the New International Version NIV unless otherwise noted. Divine pronouns and titles are capitalized.

Taking Inventory

Communion Service

I went to Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, and I set out to be an accountant. For three years, my goal was to be a CPA. In my freshman year, my professor said, "I would like for you to go back and take an inventory of all of your assets." Okay, I can do that. So, I went back to my room in Birch Hall and started looking at everything: I had my shoes, my clothes, and some pencils. I had a watch that was given me for my eighth grade graduation. I had a suitcase that was from my eighth grade graduation. I had a portable typewriter. I had my bicycle, didn't have a car or anything. And I had a box of crackers in the room. I had my work clothes for working at the college wood products. I had an umbrella. That was about it. The total value I remember was under two hundred dollars. I thought, "You know, for the first nineteen year, that's not doing too hot. I've got to do better than that." And so it's sort of as a class project, redoubled my energies, my efforts to do a little better than that, to start working a little harder. "Otherwise," I thought, "by the time I'm forty, I'll be worth four hundred dollars. By the time I'm sixty at this rate, it'll be six hundred dollars. I need to do a little better." And so, I did. If I compare that day to now, our cars are paid for, our house is paid for, we've made a lot of progress. The Lord has blessed.

I would like to challenge you spiritually to take an inventory of your life and compare that to how it was when you first became a Christian. Have you doubled? Have you gone like a lot of us do financially? Have you increased at that rate, or are you just sort of increasing spiritually at a lower rate? You ought to do that.

The Bible says we ought to do that in II Corinthians 13:5,6. Examine yourselves. Have you ever given yourself a test? I've taken a lot of tests in my time. I remember taking a test for my driver's license, and I got that hot piece of plastic. That was so neat. I took a lot of exams in college and academy. I don't know why teachers have to keep doing that, but they do. And I took an exam when I got my ham radio license. I've taken a lot of tests, but this says you should test yourself. That's what the Bible says. Test yourself. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you--unless of course, you fail the test. So you need to take an inventory of your life. And you should do this as adults, anyway. If you have your own home, you should take an inventory of it in case the house burns down. You can't collect insurance on your furniture you know, or anything, unless you can prove you had it. And so we should test ourself.

Look at 1 Corinthians 11:28. Before a communion service, A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. So, before we this service today, we should examine our lives. We should do a spiritual inventory of ourselves.

Plato said it long ago: "The unexamined life is the life not worth living." You need to check yourself out. You can't go to the doctor for this. You have to do it yourself.

I think there are several inventory questions we could propose to you that you would use.

1. Am I Led by the Holy Spirit? Romans 8:14 suggests this. In fact it goes so high as to say, ...those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. Well, I want to be a child of God, so I want to be led by the Holy Spirit. Are you really led by the Holy Spirit? Or are you led by some other spirit? What is the driving force of your life? Is it the arcade. Is it Videos, DVDs? Is it drugs? What is the driving force of your life? Is it the Holy Spirit?

2. Am I really walking with Jesus? That's a significant question. Colossians 2:6 (KJV) As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him. We are charged to walk in Jesus. Are you walking with Jesus? Are you, really?

3. Am I Studying the Bible as I should? David tells the secret of a person who is truly blessed: Psalm 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. Have you ever read the Bible all the way through? Have you? How old are you? Will you ever do it? Do you read the Bible every day? Did you know that Marge Seifert, our organist, her daddy was in church this morning and he said, "I have read the Bible through this year, three times!" Now. when you get retired you can be going like that all day anyway. You'll have time to read it. But I read the Bible before I came to church today, did you? You'd better take an inventory and figure out where you are in this spiritual life. Did you open it and read it before you came to church today?

4. Is my prayer life Healthy or is it sick? Did you read the recent Review? They did a survey on Adventists. Was it George Barnia or someone like that? And, my, the results of that survey were horrible. Our prayer life is sick. As Christians, something is wrong with us. Way over half of us do not have a good prayer life at all. We ought to examine that.

5. Am I actively involved in sharing my faith with someone else? Now, we're not Jehovah's Witnesses, but we ought to be witnessing for Jehovah, shouldn't we? We ought to be sharing our faith with somebody on a regular basis.

So, if your spiritual life were placed in the pathology lab and those test results came back, how would you measure up? That' the key question. Those test determine the level of your spirituality and you are the testor. And you ar also the person who is taking the test. Do you really know Jesus? Paul suggests doing a personal pre-advent Judgment on your own Christian Experience. That's what you're supposed to do. Then the communion service can be profoundly significant. But only if you do that. Hopefully your spiritual assets will far outnumber the time that you began as a Christian. They've grown significantly. You've grown to be more like Jesus. If not, something is wrong, and that's the type of test we need to take on our selves. The Communion Service then can be really great.

We're going to celebrate the Communion Service at this time. We are going to divide into groups and go into what we cal the "foot-washing service," which is very Biblical. I'm so proud to be a Seventh-day Adventist where this is followed. And then we are going to come back to this room and we're going to partake of the bread and the cup. We only one thing: that you not sit in these pews beside the piano or the organ. Then we can take care of everything more satisfactorily. We will divide: the ladies will go to the Fireside Room on your left. The couples can go to the room beside the Fireside Room, or upstairs to the upper room. The men can go to your right over here down that hallway; there are a couple rooms prepared for you. So, there's a place for everybody. Before we separate, I would like for us to have prayer together.

"Dear Father, Apparently it's inventory time. As we look at our life, if it's not right, I pray that it will be made right. If our spiritual life is falling apart, help us to invite You to help us put it back together. If our marriage is falling apart, our home, our financial world, whatever the problem might be Lord, we give it to you, and we pray that Your blood and Your precious body that was broken for us would help, would give us strength to solve our problems. So, be with us in this service, I pray, in Jesus' name, Amen."

Let us separate at this time.

Our Communion Service is an open service, that is, anyone can participate as they desire. And not all attendees wish to participate. Therefore, those who do participate go to one of the rooms to share the foot-washing ceremony with a selected friend or spouse. Everything is ready. There are pans of water by each chair and a towel on the back of each chair. As we come into the room we select a chair and one of the couple sits in the chair. The other kneels in front of that person and proceeds to wash his/her feet, and dry them with the towel. This done, the washer takes the pan of water to the deacons to dump the water, clean the pan and get fresh water and a fresh towel, and returns where the partners exchange positions. When the foot-washing is finished, most couples hug and many have a private prayer. Then everybody returns to the sanctuary.

The organ is playing softly as we settle into our places. Pastor Gettys and Grant Tuttle, one of our Elders, lead the deacons in and take their places by the communion table. At a signal they all sit down.

Grant Tuttle: Stands and reads 1 Corinthians 11:23 KJV. For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you. That the Lord Jesus the same night in which He was betrayed took bread, and when He had given thanks, He brake it and said, "Take, eat. This is My body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of Me."

After the same manner also He took the cup, when He had supped, saying, "This cup is the new testament in My blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of Me."

"For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till He come."

You know, when you think about His broken body and the shed blood, if you've ever had a broken bone, if you've ever really cut yourself, you know it's not a pleasant thing. What Jesus did for us was really significant. He came, He was born, He died, but best of all, He arose for us. Let us kneel as we pray.

Father, we thank you for the great sacrifice which You have made for us. We know that we can't even comprehend what it was really like. But as we think about Your broken body and Your spilled blood for us, send your Spirit to us that we may realize what you have done for us, that without Your sacrifice, we have nothing. But with Your sacrifice, we have everything. We can live with You forever. Be with each one today who takes part in this service. May Your Spirit be here in a special way. May we each be ready for You when You come for us. And thank You, thank You, thank You. In Jesus' name, Amen.

{Editor's note} The two men take the lids off the stack of trays of bread and grape juice and break a few pieces of the bread. Then they hand the trays to the deacons who proceed to give each person who wants to participate their share.

The deacons return to the front and each one is given both bread and grape juice and we all sit down.

Pastor Gettys continues: What is a Christmas color? Red. I think that stands for the blood of Jesus Christ. Without that, His life would be meaningless. And that is surely a color in our Communion Service today. And a pure white of the bread. The white of His life, the purity of His righteousness. Jesus told His disciples at the communion many years ago the instructions He gave them were not just to take it home and look at it, but to take and eat. So, let us do that at this time. [And we all eat together.]

Amen. Again, the symbol that is in your hands of the grape juice. It's a symbol of His blood. And you each have in your hand the amount of juice that belongs to you. I suppose you could take it home and look at it. But how much better it would be to drink it, to assimilate it into your body and to make it a part of yourself. That's what Jesus wants to be with each of us. And so again, He said, "Drink ye all of it." [And we drink together.]

Amen. The closing hymn: certainly we do want to walk with our Master, number 574, and as you go out, remember that offering which goes this Christmas time to help folks in our church that need assistance, and there are many. {Editor]: As we file out, there are deacons waiting with offering baskets to receive our gift for the poor.

Hymn of Praise: #125, Joy To The World
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 13:5,6 
Hymn of Response: #574, O Master, Let Me Walk With Thee

021214#198 - Communion sermon

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