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The Discipline of Communal Examination

In the life of the church, communal examination is just as important as self-examination.

From the editor

Next week we start to roll out all of our new Easter sermons, but seeing as many congregations have just begun observing the Lenten season, we thought we would offer a helpful resource to speak into this time of extended time of reflection and discipline. A few years ago, when Skye Jethani was asked to preach a sermon to prepare his congregation for Lent, he didn't just offer thoughts on the importance self-examination. He also stressed the importance of communal examination by exploring the life of Daniel. Here's a Lenten sermon from a different angle.

Introduction

We often talk about the importance of self-examination—of doing the hard work of uncovering and dealing with our own sin. Today I want to look at communal examination—the act of identifying the sin in us.

When I was 13, my dad had the brilliant idea to take sailing lessons. I'm not sure where this idea came from. Our only previous sailing experience had been the log ride at Great America. Nonetheless, my dad, my brother, two cousins, and I headed out to Chicago's Belmont Harbor to spend a few days learning to sail with an instructor.

I felt bad for that instructor and what he put up with. Whatever we paid him, it wasn't enough. My brother and cousins goofed off most of the time, and I spent most of those three days bent over the side of the sailboat, puking into Lake Michigan.

At the end of the three days, after learning all the basics, we were given a final exam. We were to navigate the sailboat out of the harbor, into the lake, and back to the harbor. We were supposed to do all of this alone. No instructor. Just my dad and four teenagers. Even as a 13-year-old I knew this was not a good idea. There was no way I was ...

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Skye Jethani is an author, speaker, consultant, and ordained minister. He also serves as the co-host of the popular Holy Post Podcast.

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Sermon Outline:

Introduction

We often talk about the importance of self-examination—of doing the hard work of uncovering and dealing with our own sin. Today I want to look at communal examination—the act of identifying the sin in us.

I. Though righteous, Daniel chooses to be identified with sinful Israel.

II. Daniel saw his relationship with God as fundamentally corporate in nature.

III. Daniel saw that to claim the blessings of God's people he must also claim their sin.

IV. Daniel saw his responsibility to lead the people in confession.

Conclusion

It is not enough for us just to examine ourselves. We must take part in communal examination.