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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