Big Mouths

big-mouths

“He who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets, Therefore do not associate with a gossip” -Proverbs 20:19 (NASB)

As Christians, we should not only be able to rightly discern sound doctrine, but we need to be able to discern sound character. There are many things we all may fail in, but that doesn’t mean we should never be corrected and rebuked for bad character. As we are cautious about heresies that tend to infiltrate our western churches, so we also must be cautious concerning red flags about other people’s character.

In this particular portion of Proverbs, Solomon warns us about a particular problem in human nature – gossip. Particularly, it is gossip that spreads (mis)information, truthful or not, that brings a stain upon another person, intended or unintended. Whether done ignorantly or maliciously is not the warning here. The warning that this proverb is trying to help us understand is that a slanderer comes with a warning sign: A mouth that doesn’t shut.

I picked the Scripture version above because it is the best translation that I think projects the concept of this passage. Although not word for word, if I had to summarize and use the GRV (George’s Revised Version), I would say something like this:

“He who is gossiper reveals secrets, therefore do not have fellowship with or share information with those that are constantly opening their mouths.”

The reason why I worded it this way is because there are a few words in this Scripture that give the picture of someone who is always saying something, or sharing information about others, who will inevitably spread information about you.

The first Hebrew word, רָכִיל rakiyl (talebearer, gossiper, informer), is a word that describes someone that tells others information  or “tales” (thus the term “talebearer” in certain translations). Chances are, it will  be about things that they have no right to share, or were told in confidence something that they should not tell others. Everyone knows someone like this, so this should be of no surprise that these kinds of people have been around for ages. The next word is פָּתָה pathah (one who opens his lips). This word gives a linguistic picture of something spacious and wide, but is used idiomatically to speak of someone who can’t keep their mouth shut. It relates to our English idiom of disgust when we say, “You know, you got a big mouth!” There are no limits, self-control, or barriers to the kind of information that this person will share! Finally, the last word is עָרַב `arab. This word conveys fellowship and sharing. Other uses include giving a pledge, but in this context, it is like exchanging pledges. In other words, there is a trade or transaction of information, which always happens if you are going to communicate meaningfully with another human being.

warning-label

If you notice, the gossiper has to open their mouths and tell someone something that they should not. And this is the WARNING SIGN that we should all take heed to. If there is someone who spreads information about someone else, they will spread information about you. The best way to confront the person is to ask, “Am I supposed to know this information?” Or, if you hear information that may not be accurate, you can correct or inform the individual, taking into the consideration that it’s information that you are not able to openly express as well. Sometimes, a gossiper shares misinformation to gain more information to use it at their whim, so be careful!

The point is primarily this. Scripture warns us to be discerning of individuals that just can’t seem to keep their mouth under control, especially when it comes to information that we should not be privy to. Now, I am a talker. I love linguistics. I love communicating with my brethren about what’s on my heart and how I feel, but I usually only speak to a small circle of discerning friends about certain individuals that have caused me angst. The catch here is that the kind of speech that I should not exchange with someone else is information that may defame, stain, or hurt another individual’s reputation, or spread information that a person has confided with me on. I am not to divulge or indulge anything that I discern to be slanderous. This discernment is a muscle that we need to exercise and make stronger in our day and age where clicking “share” or sending emails without face-to-face conflict is so prominent. And our spiritual palates need to be trained to refuse the juicy morsels that so often cause our gossiping ears to salivate.

Even though I have painted an evil picture upon a person whose disposition is as I previously mentioned, I need to make it a point to inform you that gossip is forgivable. Oftentimes, slander is not tolerated, and it shouldn’t be. But we must remember that we are obligated to show forgiveness toward those who are of this kind of character. If a person is repentant about it, we must show mercy. While it is true that we will probably be more discerning in the future, we should never shy away from offering reconciliation, even if it may take a little while to come to fruition. The sin of gossip is a sin of the heart that is manifested in the tongue, and Christ died for that sin too.

I leave you with Psalm 15 as an exhortation of what a godly character should look like. Of course we know this is not an exhaustive list, but it is still an important one nevertheless. I have highlighted verse 3 in reference to what I have written thus far for your instruction.

Psalm 15 (NKJV)

The Character of Those Who May Dwell with the LORD

A Psalm of David.

1 LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle?

Who may dwell in Your holy hill?

2 ​​He who walks uprightly,

​​And works righteousness,

​​And speaks the truth in his heart;

 

3 ​​He who does not backbite with his tongue,

​​Nor does evil to his neighbor,

​​Nor does he take up a reproach against his friend;

 

4 ​​In whose eyes a vile person is despised,

​​But he honors those who fear the LORD;

​​He who swears to his own hurt and does not change;

 

5 ​​He who does not put out his money at usury,

​​Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.

​​He who does these things shall never be moved.

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The heresy of worshiptainment

Mark Anthony Escalera:

These are excellent thoughts the sounds of which should be reverberated throughout much of what passes for western Christianity.

Originally posted on Mike Livingstone:

The great heresy of the church today is that we think we’re in the entertainment business. A.W. Tozer believed this to be true back in the 1950s and 60s. Church members “want to be entertained while they are edified.” He said that in 1962. Tozer grieved, even then, that it was “scarcely possible in most places to get anyone to attend a meeting where the only attraction was God.”*

More recently, David Platt has asked: “What if we take away the cool music and the cushioned chairs? What if the screens are gone and the stage is no longer decorated? What if the air conditioning is off and the comforts are removed? Would His Word still be enough for his people to come together?” (Radical)

Would it be enough?

Tozer got it right: “Heresy of method may be as deadly as heresy of message.”

HALLOWEDNESS, NOT SHALLOWNESS

Like Tozer, we…

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Responsibility, Inability and Grace

A great review of important issues that bear on the essential doctrine of soteriology – how is one saved? By John Hendrix. accounted-as-righteousness_t_nv

Responsibility, Inability and Grace

“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me…” – John 6:37

The truth of God’s word is honored not in holding exclusively to one truth to the exclusion of another truth, but in believing the whole counsel of God. The Bible plainly teaches that man is responsible to obey the summons of God to repent and believe the gospel just as it plainly teaches that he is morally unwilling and unable to do so. These two seemingly contradictory assertions can be reconciled when we understand that, after the fall, God’s perfect standard for holiness for man does not change … so even the very desire for faith, by which we believe in Christ who justifies sinners, can only belong to us, not by nature but by a gift of grace, that is, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit amending our will and turning it from unbelief to faith and from godlessness to godliness. Jesus says, “no one can come to me [i.e. believe in me] unless the Father who sent me grants it.” (John 6:54) Again, the Apostle Paul says, “And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6). And again, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8).

Furthermore some teach that God has mercy upon us when, apart from his regenerative grace, we believe, will and desire to believe, but do not confess that it is by the work of renewal by the Holy Spirit within us that we even have the faith, the will, or the desire to do all these things; If we make the assistance of grace depend on our own wisdom, humility, prudence, obedience, sound judgment or good sense, but don’t agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, we then directly contradict the Scripture which says, “What have you that you did not receive?” (1 Cor. 4:7), and, “But by the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Cor. 15:10).

The following chart shows that the Bible clearly teaches both man’s responsibility to believe the gospel and his inability to do so. The third column helps us to understand how those whom God has set his affection on infallibly come to faith, in spite of this inability and, most of all, how this gives all glory to God in the work of salvation: Augustine once said, “God bids us do what we cannot, that we may know what we ought to seek from him.”

(This chart is loosely based on a chart by Lamar McKinney)

The Responsibility of Man

The Inability of Man

Monergistic Grace of God

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Matt. 11:28

No man can come to me, . . .

John 6:44a

. . . except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 6:44b

…whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

John 3:16

…men loved the darkness rather than the Light…and will not come into the light…

John 3:20, 21

..”But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”

John 3:21

Note: there are, indeed, those who come to the light — namely those whose deeds are the work of God. “Wrought in God” means worked by God. Apart from this gracious work of God all men hate the light of God and will not come to him lest their evil be exposed.

Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:

Isa 55:6

There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

Rom 3:11

. . . I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.

Rom 10:20b

This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ…

1 John 3:23

“…the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.

Romans 8:7

you do not hear, because you are not of God.

John 8:47

“…and these whom He called, He also justified;

Rom 8:30

…and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.

Acts 13:48

God…commandeth all men every where to repent.

Acts 17:30

…the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him

John 14:7

“…if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth.”

2 Tim 2:25

. . . whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

Rev 22:17b

So then it is not of him that willeth, . . .

Rom 9:16a

“…but on God, who has mercy.” – Rom 9:16b

…Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power,. . .

Ps 110:3a

Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.

Isa 45:22

. . . Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

John 3:3a

. . . The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest . . . see that Just One, . . ..

Acts 22:14

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

John 1:12

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

1 Cor 2:14

But as many as received him, . . . were born, not of . . the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

John 1:12-13

. . . if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, . . .

ROM 10:9

. . . no man can say that Jesus is Lord . . .

1 Cor 12:3b

. . . but by the Holy Ghost.

1 Cor 12:3b

. . . make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, . . ?

Ezek 18:31

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: . . .

Jer 17:9

A new heart also will I give you, . . . and I will take away the stony heart . . .

Ezek 36:26

“If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

Matt 19:21

“Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”


Matt 19:23

“Then who can be saved?” And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Matt 25b-26

God knoweth we have nothing of ourselves, therefore in the covenant of grace he requireth no more than he giveth, and giveth what he requireth, and accepteth what he giveth.” – Richard Sibbes

John Hendryx
Monergism

1 Billion Opportunites to Die

(The following article was written on another site, but I wanted to share it here as well)

There is a cliché that says there are six million ways to die. Have you heard it? I’m not sure of the veracity of such a statement, but even if that were true, that doesn’t concern me as much as how many opportunities there are to die. Regardless of the innumerable ways a person can die, the more sobering thought that should grip us is that every second that passes, and approaches, was/is another opportunity to pass away. Let me put this into perspective in a couple of ways.

If you drive, how many intersections do you cross while you drive? Ever counted? Have you ever thought about a drunk driver, a phone texter, or just a person not paying attention, running that red light, slamming into you, and killing you? Every intersection is another probability for that.

How about this. You are at work, at home, or anywhere else, and you have a brain aneurism, or a heart attack, or some other bodily organ fail on you, which costs you your life. Have you ever wondered how something like that can hit, literally, at any second? With six millionish ways to die, the probabilities that something outside of you, or inside of you, can take you out is absolutely flooring when you think about that reality. But, once again, the ways you can die is not as frightening as to how often that opportunity presents itself. Here is another perspective that I hope will rock your thinking. Since I am going to die at any time (whenever my time comes), I am going to use the smallest, most comprehensible measurement of time to show you how many opportunities I have personally had to die – the second.

To read the rest of the article, please click here.

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It Was a LIE!

Any Christian with basic knowledge of the Bible knew it was a false tale – a lie – from the very Heaven

beginning. But how many professing Christians were taken in? We who claim Christ should not be such easy targets for deceptive tales that rail against the Word of God given to us.

Now, the publisher, author, his parents, and who all else who was involved in allowing this take the country by storm admit is was a lie! Of course, the Washington Post has the story – when has that paper not delighted in trying to bring disgrace to the body and name of Christ.

Read it before they take it down – click this sentence to open the story on the Washington Post web site.

Here’s how it opens:

Tyndale House, a major Christian publisher, has announced that it will stop selling “The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven,” by Alex Malarkey and his father, Kevin Malarkey.

The best-selling book, first published in 2010, purports to describe what Alex experienced while he lay in a coma after a car accident when he was 6 years old. The coma lasted two months, and his injuries left him paralyzed, but the subsequent spiritual memoir – with its assuring description of “miracles, angels, and life beyond This World” – became part of a popular genre of “heavenly tourism.”

Earlier this week, Alex recanted his testimony about the afterlife. In an open letter to Christian bookstores posted on the Pulpit and Pen Web site, Alex states flatly: “I did not die. I did not go to Heaven.”

Contrasting Adam and Israel

This comparison came to me a while back while I was studying for a hand of Godsermon. I do not presume to have unearthed deep truths, but pray this simple comparison prompts the reader to consider each Word that has proceeded from the mouth of God.

Contrasting Adam and Israel.

Adam Israel
Formed by God from the dust of the earth. Formed by God from the dust of the people of the world.
Was brought to life by the word and breathe of God. Was brought into being by the word of God.
Had close fellowship with God. Had close fellowship with God.
Was given a covenant within which to live and prosper. Was given a covenant within which to live and prosper.
Broke the covenant and received the penalty of death, which was carried out in due time. Broke the covenant and received the penalty of death, which was carried out in the fullness of time.
Was cast out of the garden, cursed to walk and work in the world which was wrecked by The Fall. Was divorced by God, left desolate, cursed to walk and work in darkness until the light of Christ.
As a type of Christ, Adam points us to the anti-type, Christ Jesus, in whom there is life for Adam’s children who are secure in the Last Adam. As a type of Christ, Israel points us to the anti-type, Christ Jesus, in whom there is life for Abraham’s children of promise.

Faithful Through Another Year

“Faithful Through Another Year”

This hymn was written by Henry Downton, an Anglican minister who for a time served as English chaplain in Geneva.

We sing it to a version of the tune, GOTT SIE DANK DURCH ALLE WELT, from Freylinghausen’s Geistreiches Gesangbuck, which you can hear by clicking the embedded video beneath the text of the hymn.

The second verse draws on the common thought of a fresh start of a new year, but connects it to Scripture.  Philippians 3 tells us to forget those things which are behind and press forward.  But the reason we can forget the things behind is not that a new year is started, but the work of our Saviour, the perfect Sacrifice for our sins.  When we trust in His cleansing and forgiveness, we truly can then forget and press forward, for God Himself has said He will remember our sins no more.

For Thy mercy and Thy grace,
Faithful through another year,
Hear our song of thankfulness;
Father and Redeemer, hear.

Lo! our sins on Thee we cast,
Thee, our perfect Sacrifice;
And, forgetting all the past,
Press towards our glorious prize.

Dark the future: let Thy light
Guide us, bright and morning Star:
Fierce our foes, and hard the fight;
Arm us, Saviour, for the war.

In our weakness and distress,
Rock of strength, be Thou our Stay;
In the pathless wilderness
Be our true and living Way.

Keep us faithful, keep us pure,
Keep us evermore Thine own;
Help, O help us to endure;
Fit us for the promised crown.

Henry Downton, 1818-1885
Music:  Freylinghausen’s Geistreiches Gesangbuck, 1704, alt.