Paul enjoins the Ephesian Christians to Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving (Eph. 5:4). We need to be careful with our words. Particularly here I want to think about the need to avoid bad language.
A foul tongue reveals a foul heart. In Matthew 12:34 our Lord addresses the Pharisees and says: You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The state of our heart is revealed by the content of our speech.
There are certain words in the vocabulary of every language, it seems, that are categorised as swearing; they are understood to be such. There are some which fall into a grey area of acceptability; there are others which are clearly deemed to be swearing. Such words would not be used where decency is expected. The Christian should always be one who cultivates in his heart, and interacts with others, in that which is decent. Paul tells the Philippians Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things (Phil 4:8). It is just not good for Christians to be using language which does not conform to decency.
Enmeshed within this consideration of the use of language is the shunning of anything that speaks evil of God and can thereby be categorised as blasphemy. The command of the Lord stands that You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain (Ex. 20:7). We should not be rash in the use of the Name of our God and of our Saviour Jesus Christ.
So let us be careful in all our speakings. The content of our language matters. Let us glorify our God in all of our speech and let us pray Psalm 19:14
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
And remember that your mouth reveals your heart. Your speech ultimately reveals the real you.
Oh those days of old when I was first saved. Days when you had your own Bible and took it to all the services / meetings. You read it at home and when speaking with others about His ways. Those days when you knew where different things were on the page even if you could not exactly remember the chapter and verse. And in your searching for something you would alight on it and be thrilled to be drawn back to a truth that had been used of the Lord to bless you in the past.
But now it is so different: we have pew Bibles and phones. We can go to church without our own bibles and knowing there will be one in the pew. Or we just don’t need a Bible at all; we have our phones after all and we can just click it up.
I understand the value of pew Bibles; they give a version of the scriptural text which is readily accessible to all visitors. All can follow along with it in church. Everyone has opportunity to see immediately what is being considered in the Word being studied / preached.
I understand the value of your phone. They are the means which are to easily at hand for the Bible to be read. So many, youngsters in particular, use it as their initial point of accessing information.
Nevertheless, I feel I have lost something by easily slipping away from having my own Bible which I, in a sense, grew with in the Lord. And when one was worn out I would by another and live with that text.
Earlier today I was listening to someone reading the Word, John 1 in fact, and in my minds eye I was seeing the text on the page. I am pretty sure it was the lay-out of my first Bible after I was converted
Our Lord said to the scribes and Pharisees: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel! (Matt. 23:23-24). The question this statement raises is that of the emphases of our faith. Are we people who focus on the externals or on the matters of the heart?>
Our Lord is not saying here that this is an “either / or” issue. Neither is He saying it is simply a “both / and” issue. What he is saying is that both the externals and the heart issues should be in our lives. But beyond that, that we should be aware that the heart issues are weightier and of more consequence than the externals.
A religion which specialises in the correct external paraphernalia is a malformed religion. The proper arrangement of our affairs should be known and visibly on display. However, in our faith there should be a lot more than just the externals. A faith that acts with only the outward is dry and moribund.
Our faith rather should have a joy in the internally derived, Spirit energised workings of justice, mercy and faithfulness. These are beautiful characteristics in the life of a human being. They are the embodiment of everything that our Lord Jesus was. To have such a life coated with the right tithing techniques is beautiful.
There does seem to be the type of person in our churches who can by their emphasis on correct practices appear to be impressively spiritual. After all they seem so keen to implement the Bible. However, when you analyse their conduct a little more discerningly, you realise that their faith does not dig into the weightier matters of character development. Such people are more to be equated with the Pharisees than our Lord Jesus
To just have the right tithing techniques leads to an ugly and unattractive faith. So am I displaying straining of gnats and swallowing of camels faith? Lord please may it not be so. Help me to show a beautiful potency to my life whereby the realities of my heart lead to a well-ordered life. Please work to that end Lord.
Roy Wood and Wizzard first opined back in 1973 that “I wish it could be Christmas every day”. The sentiment underlying the song was that Christmas was too good to be restricted to one day, or one part, of the year. I want to assert to my own soul, and to all other fellow believers, that this is a theme we should embrace ourselves as well.
It’s three days after Christmas Day now and in a sense Christmas is over. As a result we can be inclined to start to pack away all of the reminders about the incarnation. And weren’t they really just for unbelievers anyway, because it is they who need to know about one who came to save. But no surely this is all wrong.
It should be Christmas every day for us as Christians. We should be marvelling day by day about the reality of Christ our Lord being incarnate in the womb of Mary. It is a key ingredient of the faith once delivered to the saints that Mary was found with child by the Holy Spirit.
Having Christmas is good because it makes us once a year trip over the immense realities of Jesus coming into the world. However, it is a problem because it can mean that we “park” the doctrine of the Virgin Birth and the major implications of that doctrine for most of the year.
This is so very much wrong and we should make sure that we aver that we see this as a trap that we do not want to fall into. We do want it to be Christmas everyday. In a sense we need it to be Christmas everyday. So as we move our of 2019 and into 2020 let us determiner to celebrate Christmas every day. We will be much benefited in understanding our faith and living out our faith, if that is the case.
I have written more fully about these matters here.
It is because believers are lazy and ignorant that we do not experience more and more in our souls the visits of grace and the dawnings of eternal glory.” (The Glory of Christ: John Owen p.10).
Mmmmmh that makes me think about where I am at spiritually. So here are some observations:
Christianity does not just happen to people. There is a necessary and purposeful seeking after that which is of God. There is a determination to acquire the Lord for our souls’ welfare. We read scriptures like:
- From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force (Matt. 11:12).
- Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it (Psalm 34:14).
- “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near (Is. 55:6).
We must attend to the means of grace. Bible reading, prayer and fellowship are the necessities for spiritual progress. A lack of attention to these things guarantees spiritual inertness. All Christians need to be attending church and learning and growing in fellowship with another. And how about your personal time of drawing close to the Lord through prayer and the Word; how is that going?
We should be passionate about growing in our knowing. Spiritual laxity is often covered over by the attributing of too much to the Holy Spirit. We need to set ourselves to learn that we can’t just sit back and expect the Holy Spirit to insert knowledge into our beings through osmosis.
We have settled for too little. We have drifted into a Christianity which says this is as much as we are going to get. So we have little appreciation of His ways and a shallow understanding of His salvation and our future glory. And yet, I am persuaded that God has so much more for us to experience.
So let us rise up to know the Lord and in our knowing to be full of worship and passionate service of Him who is Lord.
They really should be banned should they not? That is red-letter bibles. I understand the good intentions behind them to have the words of Christ our Lord highlighted so that special attention is drawn to them. And it is beautiful to know of the words actually spoken by our Saviour.
However, the big cost is found in the fact that all other scripture is regarded as being “also-rans”. Yes it is a Word from the Lord, but is is not as good as the Word of our Lord Jesus. This is just no good. Paul tells Timothy and us. that All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
The words spoken by our Lord are not more important than other words recorded in scripture. They are all equally part of the revelation that the Lord has given to us in His Word.
This also saves us from all false notions about how Paul or Peter had a lesser view, or alternative view, of the faith. Not at all! They all stand on a level with our Lord Jesus in terms of revealing the same faith.
This has to be so because it is the same God who spoke through the apostles who also spoke in Jesus Christ.
Accordingly, we receive the Word as one whole Word from our Lord.