Wednesday, April 29, 2009

All in the Family

Taking the Long Perspective

I. The Family Is the Platform for Society

A. Humanity has a common origin in Adam and Eve; consequently all social order begins in the Garden of Eden. “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.” (Genesis 3:20)

B. The standard for family and social life was vividly displayed in Abraham. “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.” (Genesis 18:19)

C. Long life derives from faithfulness and respect within the family context. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” (Exodus 20:12)

D. What begins in families stretches out across humanity in its various categories and distributions; nations and civilizations replicate and reflect families. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. (Exodus 20:3-6)

II. Family Terms Apply Across the Cultural Spectrum

A. God terms government officials fathers and mothers. “And his servants came near, and spake unto [Naaman], and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?” (2 Kings 5:13) “And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me.” (Isaiah 49:23)

B. God approved the term for religious leaders with the example of Elisha who called his prophetic mentor, Elijah, his father. “And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan; And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the LORD God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over.” (2 Kings 2:12-14)

III. Family Relationships Interpret Other Relationships

A. People first learn and teach relationships with superiors, inferiors, and equals in the family. Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” (Ephesians 5:21) Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king. (1 Peter 2:17) Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; (Romans 12:10)

B. People in authority should use their power with the same loving attitude God first demonstrated to them. “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4)

C. Authority must be used for the benefit of those in various subordinate positions; Paul was applying family rules to church discipline. “Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children. (2 Corinthians 12:14)

D. Paul applied family terminology to those God used him to lead to grace. “I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you. For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.” (1 Corinthians 4:14-16)

Do Not Stop Them

Numbers 11:1-30; Mark 9:38-41 / Philippians 1:12-26

I. Those People Belong to the Wrong Denomination

A. John was more concerned about credentials than about the spread of the gospel. “And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us.” (Mark 9:38)

1. John seems to have been dealing with the genuine article; the magical or medical use of the name is a different matter and would appear in Acts. “Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so.” (Acts 19:13-14)

2. Casting out devils is a good thing, but is not in itself evidence of salvation. “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:22-23)

B. John is known historically as the apostle of love but Jesus named John and his brother James “Boanerges.” “And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder:” (
Mark 3:17) “Firebrand” would be a contemporary equivalent designation.

C. The conflict of status and service is much older than this event in Mark; Moses faced it in the Exodus. “But there remained two of the men in the camp, the name of the one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad: and the spirit rested upon them; and they were of them that were written, but went not out unto the tabernacle: and they prophesied in the camp. And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp. And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them.” (Numbers 11:26-28)

D. People easily mingle their own interests with the glory of God; believers must rejoice as God’s word is being distributed even when “the wrong people” are doing it. “And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the LORD’S people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!” (Numbers 11:29)

II. The Church Is More than an Institution

A. Do not stop what is inherently right; John was showing more concern for his own status in the church than for the work of the gospel. “But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.” (Mark 9:39)

B. In contrast, when Paul was struggling with people who were preaching the gospel primarily to hurt himwhile Paul was in prison and unable to preachhe summarized the proper attitude. “What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.” (Philippians 1:18)

C. Anyone who does not impede the gospel is a friend of the true church.
“For he that is not against us is on our part.” (Mark 9:40)

III. God Knows and Remembers His Friends

A. The work God assigns—even when it is very small—is more important than the status of the person doing it; all the friends of the gospel will be remembered in due time. “For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.” (Mark 9:41)

B. God keeps His own accounts; Heaven’s records are far better than those of any human central office. “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25:40)

C. The poor widow who gave only a small amount gave more to God than the rich who dipped into their abundance. “And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living. (Mark 12:41-44)

D. Practice seeing life from God’s perspective. “Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.” (Romans 15:7)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Leave This to Me

The Christian Sabbath

I. Remember

A. The first obligation of the Sabbath is to remember grace; in its Biblical context the Sabbath is inherently holy. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” (Exodus 20:8-11)

B. People who remember will keep the Sabbath. Keep the Sabbath day to sanctify it, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee.” (Deuteronomy 5:12)

C. The Sabbath is not merely for fasting from work, worry, and stress but for growing in grace; sanctification is the work of God's free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness. “But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:” (2 Thessalonians 2:13) “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” (Ephesians 4:24) There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Romans 8:1)

D. God intended people to work; work was part of the human design before the fall. “And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.” (Genesis 2:8) “And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” (Genesis 2:15)

E. Something is fundamentally wrong with people who do not plan their work and work their plans; faithful Christians prosper. Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work:” (Deuteronomy 5:13) “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. (2 Thessalonians 3:10-12)

II. The Sabbath Is Distinctive

A. What is obligatory on other days is forbidden on the Sabbath. “But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou. (Deuteronomy 5:14)

B. Rest had a heavenly quality even before work became a burden; genuine rest echoes God and in doing so conveys a blessing. “And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. (Genesis 2:2-3)

C. The Sabbath is a permanent refreshing expression of the relationship between God and Creation. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.” (Exodus 31:17) “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

D. The call to return to the Sabbath marks the dawn of reformation; restoration must begin with grace. Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” (Isaiah 58:1)

E. God does not make a promise about joining the institution, hitting the sawdust trail, or speaking in tongues; He does make a promise of abundant grace to those who turn from themselves and rest in Him.If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. ” (Isaiah 58:13-14)

The Way to the Top

Jeremiah 45:1-5; Mark 9:33-37 / Psalm 139:1-12

I. Who Is the Greatest?

A. Jesus caught the disciples squabbling; disciples must expect to be called to account for their behavior and their progress in their gospel lessons. “And he came to Capernaum: and being in the house he asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way?” (Mark 9:33)

B. The disciples were being childish; there is no mature way to raise some questions. “But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest. (Mark 9:34)

C. Self-centered pride makes people look bad; it reverses the graces of the soul, turning love into envy, humility into pride, and generosity into selfishness.Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.” (Proverbs 13:10) “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” (James 4:6)

D. Christian courtesy encourages a climate of modesty. “But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” (Luke 14:10-11)

E. King Jesus is not like the rulers of the world and His kingdom does not follow the world’s patterns. “But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-28)

II. The Bible Reveals a Career Path to the Top

A. Jesus was honestly answering the question being proposed; there is a path to the top: Start at the bottom and do what is being left undone. “And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all. (Mark 9:35)

B. Jesus illustrated the doctrine of advancement magnificently at the Last Supper. “And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him; Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.” (John 13:2-5)

C. The Lord of Grace took one final opportunity to do the least attractive job available before going out into the night and on to the cross. “So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.” (John 13:12-15)

D. Disciples must never forget their station in the community of grace. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.” (John 13:16)

III. Get the Question Right

A. Great writers and teachers create pictures in the mind; Jesus did this with a child. “And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them,” (Mark 9:36)

B. A little child has nothing to offer but need and simple confidence that the need will be met; Jesus demands that the church focus its work at this level. Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me.” (Mark 9:37) Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” (James 1:27)

C. Instead of asking, “Who is the greatest?”, people qualified to lead the church ask, “Who will hold the wet, hungry, and tearful baby?” “And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. (Matthew 18:3-5

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

God Listens

I. God Will Not Overlook Blasphemy

A. Treating God’s name with disrespect is closer to a felony than to a misdemeanor; every society punishes what it considers to be blasphemy.
“Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. (Exodus 20:7)

B. God takes light treatment of His name as a personal insult. “And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD. (Leviticus 19:12)

C. When nations and civilizations fail to conform to God’s law, He punishes them until they understand; airheads get the opposite of blessings. “If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD; Then the LORD will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance.” (Deuteronomy 28:58-59)

II. Do Not Be Confused by Bad Examples

A. Eli let his sons abuse the instruments of grace in his day, but God eventually destroyed them for their blasphemous behavior. “Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the LORD.” (1 Samuel 2:12)

B. The sons had no respect for the offerings they received for the Lord, treating the religious value of the offerings with contempt and by their example caused other people to have no respect for the offerings. “Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the LORD: for men abhorred the offering of the LORD.” (1 Samuel 2:17)

C. By doing nothing about the disrespect shown God and His word, Eli became a co-conspirator with his evil sons; Eli’s silence was a form of idolatry. “Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.” (1 Samuel 2:22) “Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering, which I have commanded in my habitation; and honourest thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel my people?” (1 Samuel 2:29)

D. God’s patience should not be confused with complicity. “These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes.” (Psalm 50:21)

III. Be Honest about Blasphemy

A. If people encounter silence when punishment is appropriate, they stop taking punishment seriously; such silence recruits further sin. Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. (Ecclesiastes 8:11)

B. The purpose in God’s withholding damnation is entirely gracious and the abuse of that reprieve multiplies the guilt of sinners. “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;” (Romans 2:4-5)

C. Sin brings about a self-correcting punishment; imaginary money causes actual wealth to evaporate and disregard for God’s revelation causes moral capital to disappear. Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord GOD of hosts.” (Jeremiah 2:19)

D. God has no room in His house for the unrepentant wicked; do not let them think they are welcome. “But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth?” (Psalm 50:16)

E. Self-excuses and silent complicity can be subtle, but they are no less serious in earnest believers than they were in the life of Eli. Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?” (Romans 2:21-22)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Psalm 118:1-29; Mark 16:1-8 / Romans 6:1-14

I. Jesus Was Dead and Buried

A. At least His friends had seen Jesus die on the cross and the women who were close to Him wanted to treat His corpse with the appropriate respect due the dead; in Israel in those days people did not simply dispose of people they loved. “And when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.” (Mark 16:1)

B. On the third day of the nightmare, the women arrived with the sun to enter the cave where the body lay, wash it, and wrap it with funeral spices. “And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. (Mark 16:2)

1. Displaying holy boldness and contempt for the powerful people who had killed Jesus, the women to whom Jesus had been so kind would not abandon Him in death. “Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame.” (Song of Solomon 8:6)

2. The awareness of sin’s awful features draws the forgiven in a way that modern people with no grasp of law and grace cannot understand, much less emulate. “Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. (Luke 7:47)

C. Though bold in their faithfulness, the women borrowed unnecessary fear from their own imaginations; how would they gain access to the cave which had been sealed with a great stone and surrounded by Roman soldiers assigned to keep people away from the body? “And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?” (Mark 16:3)

D. The stone was out of place and there were no officials to stop them from doing what they came to do. “And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.” (Mark 16:4)

E. The women were frightened when they found someone other than Jesus apparently waiting for them. “And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.” (Mark 16:5)

II. Jesus Was Missing

A. Jesus had been buried in the tomb where the women stood, but He was gone. “And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.” (Mark 16:6)

B. Jesus had gone to Galilee and the women were to tell the church leaders to follow. “But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.” (Mark 16:7)

C. At first, the women were paralyzed with fear and the world wants the story to stop at this point; dead people do not come back to life. “And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid. (Mark 16:8)

III. Jesus Is Active and Present

A. Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene. “Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.” (Mark 16:9)

B. Mary Magdalene went to tell the authorities, but they didn’t have what it took to believe her. And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept. And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not. (Mark 16:10-11)

C. Jesus then appeared to a pair of disciples, but the important people would not believe this report either. After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country. And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them.” (Mark 16:12-13)

D. Finally, Jesus appeared to the Apostles and gave them a hard time before sending them into the world to tell every creature that God keeps His promises. “Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” (Mark 16:14-18)

E. God’s own church is still following instructions, telling the world that Jesus triumphed and is now in heaven governing the world. “So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.” (Mark 16:19-20) He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. (Psalm 126:6)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Watch Your Tongue

I. Reference God Cautiously

A. The third commandment directs Christians in how they are to use the name of God. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” (Exodus 20:7)

B. References to God are different from references to anything else; they must never be made casually. “And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 19:12) “And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the LORD, shall be put to death.” (Leviticus 24:16)

C. Jesus directed that prayer begin with the request that God’s name be treated with respect; consider His doctrine a gracious warning and an encouragement to righteousness. “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. (Matthew 6:9) “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” (Isaiah 57:15)

D. Though it may be unfashionable in particular times and places to show proper respect for the name of God, the crime will not be ignored in heaven. “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. (Deuteronomy 5:11)

E. Words can be deadly sources of sin. Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few. For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words. When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay. Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands?” (Ecclesiastes 5:2-6)

II. Reference God Affirmatively

A. God’s reputation is being observed in everything a believer says as much as in what a believer does. “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” (Colossians 3:17)

B. People talk about what matters to them; for believers, this should be God and what He does. “Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works.” (Psalm 105:2)

C. Believers should always be ready to talk about what God has done to give them hope. “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” (1 Peter 3:15)

III. Use the Gift of Language Graciously

A. Avoiding sin is valuable, but it is not the same as taking action to promote the gospel. “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

B. God entrusted His revelation to His people so that they might use it. “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” (Deuteronomy 29:29)

C. In contemporary society, people say righteous things but do not follow through with them and that causes other people to sin, toleration of sin weakens the condemnation of sin. Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. (Ecclesiastes 8:11)

D. Avoid the verbal instruments of evil; being “the devil’s advocate” or being broadminded about sin is ungracious. Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do. Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. (1 Timothy 1:4-7) Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” (2 Timothy 3:5)

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