Our Soul’s Inventory
December 27th, 1989 @ 7:30 PM
2 Corinthians 13:5-14
OUR SOUL’S INVENTORY
Dr. W. A. Criswell
2 Corinthians 13
12-27-89 7:30 p.m.
There are many of you that are sharing this hour on radio, and you are now a part of our dear First Baptist Church in Dallas. And this is the pastor bringing the message entitled Our Soul’s Inventory. It is prepared because of the closing of the old year and the beginning of the new. We enter a new decade; when we come back next Wednesday, we will be in the 1990’s.
Reading from the thirteenth chapter of 2 Corinthians, beginning at verse 5:
Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be adokimoi, adokimoi, rejected
– translated here "reprobates" –
But I trust that ye shall know that we are not adokimoi, rejected.
Now I pray to God that ye do no evil; not that we should appear approved, but that ye should do that which is honest, though we be as adokimoi.
For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.
We are glad, when we are weak, and ye are strong.
I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness.
Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.
All the saints salute you.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.
[2 Corinthians 13:5-9, 11, 13-14]
An Inventory of Our Souls.
We have on hand too much selfishness. I received this week a letter from the president of one of the great nations of this planet. He had five paragraphs in his letter. And as I looked at them, beautifully typed, as I looked at his letter, each one of those five paragraphs began with an "I," "I," "I," "I," "I," "I." As I looked at the letter, I thought, "How much I is in his mind, in his heart, in his work." Wouldn’t it have been wonderful to receive a letter, and it would begin in each paragraph with a "you" or a "they"? We have in the inventory of our souls, we have too much "I": too much selfishness.
We have on hand in our lives too many grudges, too many dislikes, too many prejudices. I do not know of anything that hurts us more than to look with disdain or contempt or bitterness on somebody else. Leave it to God; and for us, our attitude toward all others is one of charity and kindness.
We have in our souls too many things in our lives that we know that are wrong. They’re secret; but God knows it. And those things in our lives that separate between us and Him, may God take them away.
Inventory of our souls: we need more kindness, and more charity, and more love, to be gracious to one another, to pray for each other. We need more humility: "Lord God, how utterly dependent I am upon Thee"; giving our lives anew to the Lord every day. And we need in our lives more love for God and for our fellow man.
As you know, for years I was a country preacher; out in the little churches for ten years, in open country pastorates and in little tiny villages. In one of my pastorates, there was a family that lived here, and hated the family that lived here. The altercation arose over the boundary between the two farms. This man said, "The boundary is on the other side of the creek." And this man said, "The boundary is on that side of the creek." Actually, by designated law and map in the surveyor’s office, the boundary was in the middle of the creek. But for years they hated each other in a dispute over the boundary of that farm. And the children were brought up hating each other and hating the families, all over the dispute of that boundary. Well anyway, in the days of my pastorate of that little country church, Mr. Chaney bought that farm; he bought the farm. And when Mr. Chaney, a godly man, went down to the boundary of his new farm, that man on the other side, who’d been hateful and angry and bitter all the years, and had brought up the children to hate each other, that man came and met him, and immediately began a diatribe: "I want you to know that this farm boundary is on that side of the creek." And Mr. Chaney replied, he said, "Good neighbor, we’re not going to have an argument, we’re not going to have an altercation, we’re not going to have a dispute, and we’re certainly not going to hate each other on the boundary; we’re going to appoint an arbitrator. And he will set the boundary between you and me." And Mr. Chaney added, "And the arbitrator is you. You decide where the boundary ought to be, and you tell me; and that’ll be the boundary between our two farms."
I want you to know, that after the passing of a few days, that neighbor came to Mr. Chaney, and he said, "Mr. Chaney, I’ve thought of what you’ve done, and how kind and gracious you are. There’ll be no dispute between us. The boundary is going to be set in the middle of the creek. And that’ll be your farm on this side, and that’ll be my farm on this side. And we’ll live in peace and love and harmony together."
Don’t you like that? Isn’t that a lot better? Bitterness and hatred contribute to the hurt of the soul. But to be kind and gracious, humble and gentle, honors not only God, but builds up a marvelous strength in your own life. And that’s going to be we in the new year that unfolds before us: less of self and more of God, until there is nothing of self and everything of the Lord.
Now, Fred, I’m going to stand down here, and you lead us in the singing of a song. And if there is somebody you here tonight who would love to give your heart to the Lord Jesus, somebody you who would love to come into the fellowship of our dear church, you come and stand by me; while we all stand and sing our hymn of appeal.