And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume XI, Number 05 December 30, 2007
In this issue:
January 1st is just another day on the calendar. If I need to make a resolution I shouldn’t wait until New Year’s Day to do it. But, the first day of the new year will always lend itself to making resolutions and setting goals; goals to do something new, something different, something better – or to do something all over again
Resolutions serve a worthy purpose. Setting goals and working toward their achievement is a noble undertaking. So, whether or not you intend to make a New Year’s resolutions, why not make these spiritual resolutions regardless of the date on the calendar?
• Resolve to become a Christian, today! (2 Cor. 6:2)
• Resolve to read your Bible every day. (2 Tim. 3:16-17)
• Resolve to pray more earnestly (Lk. 18:1-8), to give more bountifully (2 Cor. 9:6-7), to serve more diligently (Rom. 12:11), to complain less frequently (Phil. 2:14).
• Resolve to count your blessings and not your neighbor’s failings. (Eph. 1:3)
• Resolve to solve disputes with another. (Matt. 5:23-26)
• Resolve to be kind and forgiving. (Eph. 4:32)
• Resolve to be an asset to the local church by doing your part. (Rom. 12:4-8)
• Resolve to teach someone the gospel. (Mark 16:15-16)
• Resolve to live in such a way that you will be with Christ forever when you die. (Phil. 1:19-28; Col. 3:1-4
Cursing Words Consume and Destroy
When cursing is the habitual course of one’s speech, its dangerous nature is obscured. It is spoken so freely by some that they do not even realize what is coming out of their mouth! For them, their cursing language is as natural as the clothes they wear and the water they drink. Note however, that divine judgment will certainly come upon the person who curses his neighbor with his tongue:
“As he loved cursing, so let it come to him; as he did not delight in blessing, so let it be far from him. As he clothed himself with cursing as with his garment, so let it enter his body like water, and like oil into his bones. Let it be to him like the garment which covers him, and for a belt with which he girds himself continually. Let this be the Lord’s reward to my accusers, and to those who speak evil against my person.” (Psa. 109:17-20)
“Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law…There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?” (Jas. 4:11-12)
Rest assured that cursing places one under divine judgment and righteous condemnation.
Silence Cursing Lips
One can repent of the sin of cursing and restore purity to his speech. Controlling the tongue requires constant surveillance of the heart: “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. Put away from you a deceitful mouth, and put perverse lips far from you” (Prov. 4:23-24). Since our words come from our heart, we must put God’s word deeply into our hearts so that the fruit of our lips will praise God instead of cursing both God and man (Heb. 13:15; Jas. 1:21; 3:9-10).
The Holy Spirit teaches us how to restore or maintain pure speech in Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” By purging our minds of evil thoughts and putting virtuous thoughts in their place we can guard our hearts and our tongues against the sin of cursing.
There are practical things we can do to overcome and resist cursing, including the following:
1. Develop love for others. Where there is love there will not be the cursing of God or man (1 Cor. 13:4-7). The person who curses others does not love them.
2. Be humble before God and man (Jas. 4:6-10). Humble hearts produce words that are “fitly spoken”, not harsh, hateful and haughty words that denounce and detest (Prov. 25:11).
3. Pray for God’s help. “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer” (Psa. 19:14).
4. Hold God in reverence. When God is held in reverence in a person’s heart his words will reflect honor for God and for man: “Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.” (1 Pet. 2:17) Curse words do not come out of a mouth whose heart is given to reverent living.
5. Be kind and forgiving. “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph. 4:32). Merciful hearts shun cursing, knowing that “with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you” (Lk. 6:37-38).
6. Increase your personal faith. When we “walk by faith” our words are seasoned with the salt of graciousness, not laced with poison of profanity (2 Cor. 5:7; Col. 4:6; Matt. 12:33-37).
We must gain and observe the wisdom related by Solomon when he said, “A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul” (Prov. 18:7). Although the intent of “cussin’ out” a person is to denounce and destroy them, the result is the destruction of the person doing the cussin’. It is foolish, idle talk that damns the soul (Matt. 12:36-37).
“The wicked is ensnared by the transgression of his lips, but the righteous will come through trouble” (Prov. 12:13). Therefore, “He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it” (1 Pet. 3:10-11).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Hebrews 6:9-12
not become sluggish, Heb. 6:11-12; 10:36.
I. IN SPIRIT, Rom. 12:11; Acts 18:25.
How we Serve the Lord (2 Pet. 1:5).
II. IN LOVE, 1 Pet. 4:8 (Prov. 10:12).
With a Pure Heart, 1 Pet. 1:22 (Jas. 5:19-20; 1 Jno. 5:2-3; Psa. 119:97;
Matt. 22:39; 5:44-45).
III. IN PRAYER, Jas. 5:16-17; Acts 12:5.
Prayer is Powerful; Col. 4:2, 12 (Jas. 5:13-16).
IV. A FERVENT HEAT, 2 Pet. 3:10, 12.
The Future Fervent Heat is a Necessary Reason to be Holy, 2 Pet. 3:11.
spiritually sluggish do not inherit the promises of God, Heb. 6:12.
Bumper Sticker Context
I saw a bumper sticker earlier today that said, “Kill an Animal – Go to Jail.”
Now, I’m against animal cruelty. At the same time, I have killed any number of animals in my life, whether it was legal sport, for food, to euthanize a pet, and even to rid my house of a pest (that little mouse was fast, but not fast enough!). Yes, I have killed animals, but none were of the sort that should land me in jail. I don’t know whether the owner of the sticker was promoting vegetarianism or just speaking out against the Michael Vicks of our day. Since there was no context given to the statement, I was left to wonder. Without knowing the proper context, the intended meaning was not clear.
This illustrates how we may go about studying and teaching the Bible. By failing to know the context of a passage we may draw false conclusions. For example, the commandment to believe in Christ in order to be saved was given to an unbeliever in Acts 16:30-31. That makes a big difference, since some teach “faith only” with this verse. When believers asked what they must do they were told to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:37-38). Yes, context is crucial.
Romans 14 is a prime example. Its context is disputes arising among brethren over subjects that are indifferent before God (see vss. 1-5). The context reveals differences of conscience, yet God’s acceptance of both. This context forms the basis for teaching how to “be likeminded toward one another” in such cases where consciences differ (Rom. 15:5-7). Romans 14 does not sanction fellowship with doctrinal error and moral sin. It does command mutual respect for different consciences toward the practice (or abstinence) of approved liberties.
Without the proper context we cannot rightly divide God’s word and become blind guides, misleading and “killing” souls (2 Tim. 2:15; Matt. 15:14; 1 Tim. 4:6, 16).
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 12/30/2007
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA