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Loyal
Tuesday, January 24, 2017, 9:11 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “When in The Stillness.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Ephesians 4:25-32 (NASB).

Speak Truth (v. 25)

Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.

In the times in which we live, lying has become epidemic, even among the people of God, and even among those who profess to be ministers of God. In some cases, the culture of the area dictates that we should lie to one another in order to be “polite.” But, is it polite to lie to people? No! And, it certainly is not kind or loving. In some cases, pastors are actually being trained to lie to people, i.e. to manipulate them so that they conform to the “church’s” (business’) goals and objectives, or in order to save their own skin, for fear of being exposed, when someone sees through their facade. As well, they are lying to people when they dilute the gospel, i.e. when they teach a half-truth gospel in order to not offend the people of the world.

So, if you are one who speaks the truth in love, not in harshness or anger or bitterness of spirit, but truly in love, it seems the vast majority of the church here in America considers you unkind and unloving. And, they think they are being loving and kind by telling people lies, i.e. by telling them what they WANT to hear rather than what they NEED to hear. But, lying is neither loving nor kind, especially if the lie leads people straight to hell. So, if you are in the habit of telling lies, this is an exhortation to stop telling the lies, and to start telling the truth, following the principle of the put offs and put ons. In other words, if we want to stop doing something, we need to replace it with something else, which, in this case, is the opposite behavior.

In Anger, Not Sin (vv. 26-27)

Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.

The emotion of anger is not sin, in and of itself. It can be rooted in sin, though. For instance, if you are a selfish person who thinks everyone should do what pleases you, you might be prone to anger whenever anyone gets in your way, or does what you don’t like, or doesn’t do what you think they ought to. If you are filled with pride, you might get angry anytime anyone says anything that might suggest that you got something wrong, no matter how kind their words, or how pure their intentions. If you know you are living in sin, or that you have a secret sinful habit, but you are covering it up with lies, you might get angry just being around people who are doing what is right, or if someone does speak the truth in love to you about your sin.

As well, anger can result in sin. The anger may be righteous anger, or it may be anger rooted in sin, yet it may also result in sin if not dealt with in the right way. By righteous anger I mean we get angry over injustice and we hate the things God hates – “arrogant eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that plots wicked schemes, feet eager to run to evil, a lying witness who gives false testimony, and one who stirs up trouble among brothers” (Prov. 6:16-19 HCSB).

These things may stir the emotion of anger within us, but we must direct the anger to what is positive, not negative. In other words, anger is an emotion given to us by God to motivate us to some type of good action. It either points to the root of sin in our lives or it helps us to feel what God feels about sin, so it should motivate us to forsake sin or it should call us to some type of ministry which would help to alleviate these things God hates from people’s lives, or would minister God’s healing to those who have been hurt by the sins of others. Passion for what is good often results from the emotion of anger we feel when we witness injustice being done to others.

Don’t Steal (v. 28)

He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need.

When we think of stealing, what comes to mind? Perhaps we think of someone robbing a bank or burglarizing another’s home. But stealing goes much deeper than that, and much broader, too. When we steal from another we take what belongs to another without asking, i.e. without being given permission to take it. Stealing is also robbing and cheating another of what is rightfully theirs. A husband or a wife is cheating (stealing) from his or her spouse when they commit adultery (including viewing pornography), or when they have a private intimate conversation with another of the opposite sex or of same sex attraction, etc. When we fill out a time sheet at work, claiming to have worked a certain number of hours, but we lie, that is cheating the company. If we take things from work that are not ours to take, that is stealing, and we can’t justify it with “everyone does it.” Or, if we lie on our tax forms, that is cheating the government.

As the remedy for lying is to stop lying and to tell the truth, so the remedy for stealing is not only to stop stealing, and to earn your own way, but it is to share with those in need. Regarding cheating, it is to stop cheating and to stop lying, and to do what is right and honest and loving towards others. If you are cheating your spouse by viewing pornography, or by having private intimate conversations with another, or even by spending all your free time doing only what you want, without regard for what pleases your spouse, thus robbing him or her of love and affection, you should stop doing what you know is wrong, and you should begin doing what you know is right.

Speak Edification (v. 29)

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.

What is unwholesome can cover a lot of ground. Gossip definitely fits into this category, as does slander, lies, manipulation, sarcasm, and some teasing and kidding, cutting remarks, foul language, obscenity, and course joking or crude humor, etc. But, it also includes focusing our conversations around what is fleshly and worldly, rather than around what is godly. What comes out of our mouths says a lot about what is stored up in our hearts. For instance, if we are bitter and unforgiving with someone, it will probably come out in cutting, hateful and nasty remarks, or in sarcasm, or in unkind teasing remarks, as well as it may come out in gossip or slander, et al. What we think about people or about anything affects what we do, which is why we need to be renewed in our minds by the Spirit of God. When our minds and hearts are in the right place, our words should follow suit.

So, in place of what is unwholesome coming out of our mouths, which I believe is a heart issue, as is all sin, we are to speak what is good for the edification of the hearer, and according to the need of the moment. Now a lot of people think edification is just saying what makes people feel good, but it isn’t. It is a part of it, but not the whole of it. To edify literally means to teach, enlighten, inform, educate, instruct and improve another by what we tell them. It also means to build up, i.e. to encourage in the Lord and in the faith and in what is right, and to teach against what is wrong. It basically means to help one another to grow spiritually in our relationships with Jesus Christ, to follow him in obedience, to be in his Word daily, and in prayer, and to walk according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh.

Included in this are warnings against falling away from grace, idolatry, spiritual adultery and the like, and encouragements to obey God’s Word.

Grieve not Holy Spirit (vv. 30-32)

Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

So, how do we grieve the Holy Spirit? I believe we grieve the Spirit when we go against God’s Word, and against what we know is right, and we willingly and knowingly do what we know is wrong, and what is displeasing to our Lord, and right in his face, too. It is when we take God’s grace to us for granted, or when we treat God’s grace as though it is all about us and our pleasure (freedom), rather than about God and doing what pleases him. We forget that Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; that we might no longer live to please ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. We forget, too, that “Lord” means “owner-master,” and that he freed us from slavery to sin so that we might become bond-servants of his righteousness, and walk (in lifestyle) in the Spirit and in his holiness.

He is also grieved when we sin against other people, and take advantage of them, and when we don’t love them as God loves us and gave himself up for us. We are not here on this earth to live for ourselves, but we are here to love God in all ways and to love others with god-like love, which prefers what God prefers, and which treats others with the same grace God has given to us. If God, who is holy and perfect can forgive us our sins, who are we to not forgive others their sins against us, for we, too, are sinners.

When in The Stillness

An Original Work / September 26, 2011

When in the stillness of this moment,
Speak to me, Lord, I humbly pray.
Be my desire, set me on fire,
Teach me to love always.
Help me to walk in fellowship with You,
Listening to You; sit at Your feet.
Whisper Your words to me,
Oh, how gently, guiding me in Your truth.

While we are waiting for Your blessing,
Lord, in our hearts be King today.
Help us to live for you ev’ry moment,
List’ning to what You say.
May we not stray from your word within us,
Help us obey You, Lord, in all things,
Walking each moment, Lord, in Your presence,
Our offerings to You bring.

Help us to love You, Lord, our master;
Be an example of Your love,
Helping the hurting, lift up the fallen,
Showing them Your great love.
Teach them to love You, follow You always,
Bearing their cross and turning from sin;
Walking in daily fellowship with You,
Making You Lord and King.

 
Loyal
@Sue J Love

Thank you for the truth spoken in your OP. This verse came to my mind as I was reading it:

"God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged." Rom 3:4

Long ago a very wise visiting minister said to the congregation where I was attending at the time that all ministers, including himself, were liars every time they misstated God's truth in any measure. He said that even a misstatement made in ignorance was still a lie.

What that man said was true then as now, but unfortunately, as you indicated there are ministers who lie on purpose to serve their own needs or purposes. I used to like to visit various churches in order to hear a little more from God, but I seldom do that any more because there is so much ignorance and deception initiating from pulpits.

Jesus does indeed need to be the King in our hearts all of the time. When we are grieving the Holy Spirit as per the verse you quoted or when are quench the Holy Spirit [I Thess 5:19] Jesus cannot while we are doing those things be the King in our hearts...

Give God the glory!
 
Loyal
@Sue J Love

Long ago a very wise visiting minister said to the congregation where I was attending at the time that all ministers, including himself, were liars every time they misstated God's truth in any measure. He said that even a misstatement made in ignorance was still a lie.
@amadeus2 - Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this subject. I don't know, though, that I agree with the above statement. Scripture is subject to human interpretation, and as humans, our understanding is not at 100% (see 1 Corinthians 13:9, 12). The Presbyterians might interpret a passage one way, and a Baptist another, and yet a Pentecostal might have an entirely different understanding of the passage. So, who is the liar? Yet, I think if we go into a passage of scripture with a preconceived idea of what it means based upon a particular theology we have bought into, and when presented with the truth of scripture we ignore what is quite obvious in favor of what we want to believe it says, because we don't want to accept the truth, and then we pass along the lie to others, especially if the purpose is so they will like us and not be offended by the truth, then that definitely qualifies as a lie. If we ignore the Spirit in favor of the teachings of men, we have bought into lies, and if we pass those along, we are definitely liars.

I will need to think about your statement further, though, because some interpretation of scripture can be so subjective, and then we don't have the original manuscripts, and we don't speak Hebrew and Greek, and so we are dependent on English translations which may or may not be all that accurate, so we ask the Spirit to give us understanding, and we grow in our understanding the more we know of God and his Word and the closer we are in relationship with the Lord.
 
Loyal
@amadeus2 - Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this subject. I don't know, though, that I agree with the above statement. Scripture is subject to human interpretation, and as humans, our understanding is not at 100% (see 1 Corinthians 13:9, 12). The Presbyterians might interpret a passage one way, and a Baptist another, and yet a Pentecostal might have an entirely different understanding of the passage. So, who is the liar? Yet, I think if we go into a passage of scripture with a preconceived idea of what it means based upon a particular theology we have bought into, and when presented with the truth of scripture we ignore what is quite obvious in favor of what we want to believe it says, because we don't want to accept the truth, and then we pass along the lie to others, especially if the purpose is so they will like us and not be offended by the truth, then that definitely qualifies as a lie. If we ignore the Spirit in favor of the teachings of men, we have bought into lies, and if we pass those along, we are definitely liars.

I will need to think about your statement further, though, because some interpretation of scripture can be so subjective, and then we don't have the original manuscripts, and we don't speak Hebrew and Greek, and so we are dependent on English translations which may or may not be all that accurate, so we ask the Spirit to give us understanding, and we grow in our understanding the more we know of God and his Word and the closer we are in relationship with the Lord.
In the OT under the law given to Moses by God atonement was necessary for a sin committed in ignorance once the person became aware that what he had done was a sin:

Num 15:25 And the priest shall make an atonement for all the congregation of the children of Israel, and it shall be forgiven them; for it is ignorance: and they shall bring their offering, a sacrifice made by fire unto the LORD, and their sin offering before the LORD, for their ignorance:
Num 15:26 And it shall be forgiven all the congregation of the children of Israel, and the stranger that sojourneth among them; seeing all the people were in ignorance.
Num 15:27 And if any soul sin through ignorance, then he shall bring a she goat of the first year for a sin offering.
Num 15:28 And the priest shall make an atonement for the soul that sinneth ignorantly, when he sinneth by ignorance before the LORD, to make an atonement for him; and it shall be forgiven him.
Num 15:29 Ye shall have one law for him that sinneth through ignorance, both for him that is born among the children of Israel, and for the stranger that sojourneth among them.
Num 15:30 But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people.

God certainly is no respecter of persons considering both those under the law given to Moses and those under the new covenant. God is just and will not inflict a punishment on a person without providing the person with an opportunity to make it right, if it needs to be made right [such as a critical (to God) error in doctrine]. This is why as we walk with God, we are also growing. We are learning more and we are seeing and hearing better [moving from "through a glass darkly" toward "face to face"] what God is showing [has shown] or what God is saying [has said]. Judgment is made according to what is in our hearts rather than according to the actions or inactions that men may choose to identify as sin. This is why I Corinthians chapter 13 and its application are so important.

As we grow we may see in ourselves as sin things which we have been routinely doing without blame simply because we were ignorant of them as sin.

"And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God." James 2:23

The word "imputed" means that it was counted. Abraham and we may have done things that others with knowledge might call sin, but what matters in the end is what God calls sin.

"Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding." Prov 17:28

"He that blesseth his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it shall be counted a curse to him." Prov 27:14

How does count it is what matters, isn't it? Sometimes don't count thing the same way that God would because we do not have all of the facts and are unable to be fair. God never has such a problem.

On our language ability, we are held responsible according to our knowledge. If our knowledge changes in a critical [to God] area then our responsibility also would change:

"But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more." Luke 12:48

Understanding written scripture is a good thing, but remember that only one is "good": God

Without God no one can really understand that Bible and for such people is scripture which has not been quickened [brought to Life] to them going to condemn them? They are already dead in any case and so would any further judgment of them be needed?
 
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