Am I A Gossiper?

GossipThe word “gossip” always convey a sense of negative, idle conversation and the spreading of rumours about other people. Concern about gossip, may have been on the mind of Henry Thomas Buckle, when he made the well-known quote: “Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people”.

There are people whose only problem with gossip is when they are the target of other gossipers. That however, suggests that they understand the evil effects of gossip.  Yet, they too, often indulge in gossip concerning others. Most gossips are outright lies, half-truths and often attempts to paint a negative view of others in the mind of the hearers.

For the purpose of making the rumours appear to be facts, it is delivered with a sense of boldness and assurance. Gossipers should be aware that they are spreading lies concerning others.

It is therefore, important that we be conscious of our gossip.

You Shall Not Take the Name of the Lord Your God In VainVery early in God’s dealing with man, He warns man against using His Name in vain.  Much of the use of the Name of the Lord by man occurs in human speech.  
When the Lord taught His disciples to pray, in what is a model prayer (after this manner pray ye), He began by addressing the Father and then worshipping Him through His Name – Hallowed be Thy Name. (Matthew 6:9)

The Lord began by reverencing the Name of our Father in Heaven. He taught his disciples to speak words to the Father, letting Him know that His Name is Hallowed to them. Hallowed means holy, sanctified, set apart.

Such reverencing of the Name of God is the very opposite of the vain use of His Name, in which the Name of the Lord is treated as a common word or a mere human name.  In fact, many persons when vainly using the Name of the Lord are unaware at those moments that they are misusing His Name.  There is often no thought of Him, when His Name is vainly used as though it was a slang. An understanding of the Scripture would teach us that when God uses names, that is - even when He gives names to men, those names are always related to the character, call and purpose of the individual.  It is always about who the person is. God changed the name of Abram to Abraham – meaning father of a multitude – because that was whom God made him.  Most human names given by parents are in no way reflective of the person who owns the name, because our parents do not know us sufficiently to identify us by who we really are.

LEST HAPLY YE BE FOUND EVEN TO FIGHT AGAINST GOD

Numbers 12 begins by relating how Miriam and Aaron, sister and brother of Moses, had an issue with Moses because of the Ethiopian wife that he had married.

The Danger of Standing in the Way of the MinistryObviously upset, they began questioning if it was only Moses through who the Lord speaks. “And they said, Hath the Lord indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us?”  Then the scripture adds, “And the Lord heard it”. (Numbers 12: 1, 2)

Does that mean that the Lord was unaware of all they had been saying otherwise concerning their dissatisfaction with his choice of a wife?  Certainly not! What is does mean, is that they had entered into an area, that immediately got God’s attention.  They had crossed a line that was of great concern to the Lord and his response was immediate.

To Miriam and Aaron, Moses was their brother.  Very likely, while others saw him as a prophet of God, their first impression of him was that of a brother and just another man.  Therein lies the root of the problem expressed by the Lord in this well-known scripture: “A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.” (Mark 6:4)

KNOW YE NOT THAT WE SHALL JUDGE ANGELS?

In addressing the multiple problems among the Corinthian believers, Paul dealt with the matter of brothers taking brothers to courts, presided over by the ungodly judges. (1 Corinthians 6:1-8)

Delivering JusticeThis scripture has been used by some, in certain instances to even perpetrate injustices among the brethren.  In other words, it would seem that there are some who have dealt unjustly with others only because they do not expect to be taken before the courts of the world.  Some may have dealt with their brethren in a manner that they may never deal with persons of the world whom they know won’t hesitate to take them to the courts of the world. Indeed, where this exists, it is a great evil and a wanton display of wickedness that goes contrary to ALL that this scripture has instructed. The scripture is about the delivery of justice, settling disputes between brethren in a just manner.  

Paul speaks concerning the future, that the saints shall have responsibilities for judging the then world. He further adds that the saints shall exercise judgment over angels. Compared to those responsibilities, the judgments we are now called upon to exercise are small matters. (1 Corinthians 6:2,3)

This has nothing to do with brethren who are legally trained.  It has nothing to do with looking for loopholes within the law for exploitation, as happens in the world’s legal system and which often corrupts justice. It has to do with making judgments according to truth and governed by our godly responsibilities toward each other. The scripture expects such a standard of fairness among believers that “the least esteemed in the church” should be able to justly decide a matter. (vs 4)

Restoring the Believer that sinnedGod created man for fellowship with man. That was evident in the Garden of Eden, as the presence of the Lord God, would visit man. (Genesis 3:8) It was also evident that once man sinned, the fellowship was broken and man was hiding from the presence and fellowship of his Creator. It was not God who pushed man away, it was man who was no longer comfortable in God’s presence. (Genesis 3:10.) Sin broke both the relationship and the fellowship that God and man had been mutually enjoying.

God immediately began a process that pointed to the sending of His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, with restoration of fellowship as the objective.

The scripture tells that that to as many as receive the Lord Jesus, He gives power to become sons of God. (John 1:12) Giving those who receive Him the status or relationship of sons, define the kind of fellowship that God desires with mankind – the fellowship of a Father with His sons. Because sin had separated man from God, a restoration of fellowship with God, meant dealing with the sin problem. That is what the Lord Jesus did in His death, the shedding of His blood and in His resurrection from the dead. However, because even after restoration, the possibility exists that man may still sin, God had to put in place the means of dealing with any further sin.

Muzzled by CultureWhen Jude wrote to the saints, he made mention that his intent was to write to them concerning “the common salvation.” (Jude 3)  He found however, that there was a matter more urgent with which he had to deal.  He instead wrote, urging the brethren to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” (Jude 3)

Clearly Jude considered the “faith which  was once delivered unto the saints” to be under threat.  The words “earnestly contend”, according to the well-used, Vines Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, come from a Greek word which “signifies to contend about a thing as a combatant”.  In other words, Jude is telling his audience to combat, fight for the faith, as originally delivered and received.  The word “earnestly” adds emphasis to the fight effort.  The Amplified version says, “fight strenuously”. Jude was putting the saint in combat mode.  There was nothing casual about his call.  The implication is that except you fight for it, you may lose it.

But just how could this threat have come about?  “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Jude 4)

WE ARE ONLY REQUIRED TO BE FAITHFUL

It is God who open doorsWe must always be mindful that for us who are called of God, Paul wrote that “we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)

The Amplified Version, states it this way: “For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us].”

In other words, the work which God has called each of us to do was prepared, planned and determined by Him before we came.  It really is a matter of us finding out from God, what He has called us to do and following Him faithfully until that work is finished.

As Paul came to the end of his ministry, he wrote to Timothy, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7).  “I have fought a good fight” described the work of the ministry. “I have finished my course” was his objective.  “I have kept the faith” is another way of saying, “I remained faithful” and revealed the key to finishing.

How To Lead and When to FollowLeadership is about vision.  Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish…”

Vision is about direction and destiny.  Leaders sell their visions to those who wish to follow them.  Followers are those who have bought into the vision as espoused by the leader.  The exception are those persons who live under dictatorships and are without a choice.

The Lord Jesus was a leader.  He boldly told men, “Follow me” (Matthew 4:19) He told them what the outcome would be if they would follow His Vision – “I will make you fishers of men”.  Inherent in that promise, is that they too would be leading others.  He would make them leaders.

The Lord taught and prepared His disciples over 3 and a half years for the leadership roles they were to fill after His departure.  He taught by words and by His example.  He also drew reference to the leadership of men to which they were exposed, even in showing what they should avoid.  In one such example, the Lord referred to the leadership of the Pharisees. “Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.” (Matthew 15:14)

BETRAYAL

BetrayalWhile there is truth to what is often said that “all sin is sin”, there are those that seem to be more grievous and devastating in their effects than others.  Betrayal must be ranked high among the most grievous of evils, if only for the pain that it leaves in its wake.  That, doubtless makes it one of the chief weapons of Satan as he sets up humans to hurt each other.  More so, as we would note as we examine the matter of betrayal, by its very nature it has to be carried out by someone close and trusted which is exactly why it causes such pain.  It is often accompanied by shock and surprise.

Rather than look for a dictionary and an intellectual definition of betrayal, we would examine its characteristics and nature which, hopefully, would allow self-examination and introspection, in the process so as to ensure it is recognised and rejected by those who would wish not to fall into the category of traitors.

Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed the Lord Jesus Christ, has for over 2000 years stood as the symbol of betrayal.  An examination of the traits, thinking and behaviour of Judas would serve as enlightening in forming a concept of this sin.

Matthew 26:14-16 give an insight into the plot: “Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests and said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.”

UNDERSTANDING THE NEW CREATION

The New CreationThe Lord Jesus in John 13:34, gave to His disciples “a new commandment”.  “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”  The new commandment was that His followers love one another in the manner that He loved them.  It meant that the Lord used His manner of loving His disciples as an example that they should follow, in loving one another.  In other words, we are to love as the Lord loves.

When the Lord Jesus walked on the earth, He was approached by a lawyer, who asked, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law?”  (Mathew 23:36)

The Lord answered him, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.   On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (vs 37-40)

So that even under the Law, God commanded that men love God as well as one another.  In the case of loving their fellow men, the measure was according to how they loved themselves.   In this new commandment, the measure is as Christ loved.

THE NEW COMMANDMENT

The New Kind of LoveThe Bible is made up of the Old and New Testaments, which are two Covenants that explain God’s dealing with mankind.

In Deuteronomy 6: 5, it is written, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”  The following verse, says, “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart” (vs 6)

Leviticus 19: 18 says, “Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the Lord.”

When the Lord Jesus walked on the earth, He was approached by a lawyer, and asked, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law?”  (Mathew 23:36)

The Lord answered him, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.   On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (vs 37-40)

The Lord Jesus in answering the lawyer, made reference to these two commandments written in the law. The Lord also made an important statement, which is that on those two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.  So that even under the law, loving God and one’s neighbour as one’s self was primary – it was the intent of the law.

Police - A Minister of GodRomans 13 gives an interesting insight into God's thoughts as it relates to certain aspects of the Justice system as instituted among men.  This should not surprise those familiar with the scripture for, as early as Genesis 9, following the flood, God, in instructions to Noah instituted the death penalty and by implication government (organised rule) and, his purpose in so doing was to exact justice when a man's blood was shed.

In Isaiah 1:23, God, through the prophet, laments the state of corrupt rulers who, among their several faults failed to deliver justice to the weaker persons in society. As a result, he promised in the following two verses (24, 25) to execute his judgment and restore judges who would do right. (vs 26).  The idea being, that God expects a functional and just legal and criminal justice system in a nation.  The idea is that men should judge among themselves and do so justly.  When that is absent, God intervenes and bring his own judgement which is usually extremely painful.

Then in Matthew 18, the Lord Jesus related a parable which had to do with men forgiving their fellowmen.  The punishment for the one who refused to forgive was a prison term which clearly shows that the Lord understands and even accepts the prison system.

The Lord's PrayerWhen the disciples of Jesus asked him to teach them how to pray, he gave them a prayer now commonly called "The Lord's Prayer".  Given that it came from the Lord, each word in this prayer must be regarded as having special significance.

Also, because this prayer was for all of his disciples, it must be regarded as a prayer that applies to everyone and therefore, touches the basic human needs as God sees it.
As we examine this prayer, we would see that God identifies human needs and yet asks us to pray that those needs be met.  It shows that God meets human needs not based on his knowledge of them but because we ask.

Our focus in this article is the identified need to escape falling a victim to temptation.  The prayer says, "Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil".  (Matthew 6:13) Temptation here refers to the pull we feel at times to do things which are evil/wrong.

Prayer for our childrenIn what is almost universally known as the Lord’s Prayer, The Lord Jesus taught his disciples to say these words in prayer to God, “Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil”. 

Those words teach us several things: 
1.    That there are temptations that comes to us
2.    That it is temptation to do evil
3.    That God wants to deliver us from evil (for if he did not want to deliver us from evil, the Lord would not have taught us to ask Him to)
4.    That God would not deliver us from evil automatically even though He wishes to. We need to ask Him. (If He automatically delivered us from evil then the Lord would have no need to teach us to ask God to deliver us).
5.    That except God delivers us, then we would fall victim to evil. (Surely, if we could have delivered ourselves from evil, then the Lord would have seen no need to teach us to approach God in prayer, to deliver us)