Finding contentment in Christ 

Christian contentment is very difficult to obtain in our society. Our society and culture do not make it easy to be content. Society is always demanding that we conform to the new image it has established, only to change that image as soon as we get close to achieving it. Unlike the image of Christ, which never changes, the image the world puts forth changes continually. Then there is the constant addition of things we must have if we really want to be happy. Bigger homes with more garages to hold our fancier and more expensive vehicles are a must. Prestigious jobs with impressive titles, corner offices with windows, amazing benefits, and a 100% matching 401-K plan are required for happiness. Now you can add to that the latest large screen television, the newest game system, the iPhone with the biggest screen and most memory, and of course the hottest looking wife. You say these are all worldly things, and you are beyond seeking the things of the world. You are really seeking to serve God and to seek spiritual blessing, not material blessing. Good for you! It would appear you have been listening. But unfortunately, the application of this principle seems as difficult for the church as it does for the world.
Matthew 6:25-34(ESV)25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
This has been named the cure for anxiety. When Xanax hit the U.S. market in 1981, it wasn’t clear it would be a hit. It was a me-too successor to Valium, the anxiety drug that was the most popular drug in America for most of the 1970s. Maker Upjohn figured out a clever way to market its drug: by testing it to treat panic attacks as well as anxiety.

Panic attacks had just been defined as a diagnosis and were assumed to be resistant to Valium-like drugs. But Upjohn ran studies showing Xanax reduced panic attacks; it was the first drug to get an approval for this claim. Xanax sold like hotcakes and became part of the popular lexicon. America is still a Xanax nation. It remains the most popular psychiatric drug, topping more recently introduced medicines like the sleeping pill Ambien (No. 2) and the antidepressant Lexapro (No. 3). Doctors write nearly 50 million prescriptions for Xanax or alprazolam (the cheap, generic equivalent) every year–that’s more than one Xanax prescription every second. Upjohn vanished in a series of mergers–it’s buried somewhere inside Pfizer now–but the decision its executives made still echoes through our culture, and through the bodies of psychiatric patients.

Anxiety creeps in when we fear the unknown or when we can not control a situation Psalm 56:3(ESV) 3 When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.

Psalm 27!(ESV)The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

Be assured, He is with you in whatever you face, in the turmoil and struggles, amidst the anxious thoughts and the worries of life. He is there, strengthening, helping, and He holds you in His hands.

God is greater. He gives us the power to live courageously, boldly, fearlessly in this life, when many things that surround us would tell us to be afraid. His truth whispers strong and sure to the deepest core of our spirits.
Have you stopped to look around at the church lately? If you have, you may notice there is little Christian contentment to be found there. Church members are discontented with their pastors. Pastors are frustrated with their boards. Worship teams are at odds over the style of music in the service. Parents are dissatisfied with the youth programming. The youth are turned off if they are not being entertained. Then, of course, you have those churches of one hundred members that aren’t satisfied until they have two hundred, while those that already have the two hundred members desire to have four hundred. You would think the church that has five thousand members is surely satisfied, but no, plans are underway to grow to ten thousand. 
Paul, from prison, shared his experience of the secret with all who would listen:

Philippians 4:4-13(ESV)4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, 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. 9 What you have learned[e] and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
We need to learn to be satisfied with little. Paul had learned to make the choice to be satisfied with little, and he knew it was important for others to learn to make that same choice.

Contentment does not come naturally to the sinful human heart. We need God’s grace to strengthen us and to change our hearts. But we also have the responsibility to learn contentment. It requires effort. The fact that Paul refers to the “secret,” or “mystery,” of contentment, however, indicates not only that contentment does not come naturally, but also that how we pursue contentment is contrary to human ways of thinking. There are also different worldly ways of thinking about contentment and material goods. The “more is better” mentality teaches us that to be satisfied in life, we need this product or that gadget. There is also a worldly “simple living” mentality that says satisfaction comes by getting rid of stuff and living with less. Yet Paul says he has learned to be content in both plenty and hunger, in abundance and need. While there is some biblical truth to the thinking that we should not pursue earthly goods continually, a simple lifestyle alone does not guarantee a contented heart.
The secret to contentment is very simple. And it does not require heroic acts of piety. No, in fact it requires a childlike response from us. The secret is beautifully summed up in this phrase: Proverbs 3:5(ESV)Trust in the Lord with all your heart,and do not lean on your own understanding.

Trusting God is not easy, but it’s not complex. The knowledge of good and evil is complex. It produces Gordian knots we cannot untie. But we were never meant to. We were meant to trust God with them. And when we do, it is a great relief. 

We need to learn to rest in God’s providence. If we truly know God, we know that He is unfolding His agenda and purpose in our lives. He has sovereignly determined each part of His plan for us so that we’ll be benefited and He’ll be glorified.

Romans 8:28(ESV)28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. We should not be surprised or ungrateful when we experience trials because we know that God sees perfectly the end result. 1 Peter 4:12-13 (ESV)12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.
We need to learn to rely on God’s power and provision. A contented Christian is the one who best knows God’s sovereignty and rests in it. A contented Christian trusts God, is pure in heart, and is the one most willing to be used of God—however God sees fit. We live in a world that breeds discontent. We are bombarded with the message that to be happy we need more things, less wrinkles, better vacations, and fewer troubles. But, ultimately, the problem is the sinful human heart. We are often discontented in our jobs, our marriages, our churches, our homes — in most areas of our lives. We can easily despair that we will never be able to attain contentment. Because we are focusing on the wrong things. But the Bible teaches us that we must be content.

Hebrews 13:15(ESV)5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
In 1 Timothy 6:6-7(ESV)6 But godliness with contentment is great gain, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. Paul exhorted a young pastor with these words: “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.” Paul understood that covetousness and contentment are mutually exclusive.
Ecclesiastes 3:12-13(ESV)12 I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; 13 also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.
A self-centered man is a discontented man. But the soul of the generous man, the man who lives for the interests and benefit of others, will find blessing upon blessing in his life.

Philippians 2:3-4(ESV)3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Proverbs 11:24-25(ESV)24 One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.25 Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.; 
Proverbs19:17(ESV)Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.

2 Corinthians 9:6-7(ESV)6 The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
Understand why contentment is necessary for holiness. As a Christian, you should pursue contentment because: God has commanded it, contentment is a priceless spiritual treasure, a discontented spirit lies at the root of much sin, contentment shows your humble submission to God’s will and allows you to experience God’s peace, and a contented spirit helps you worship God.

Beware of the dangers of a discontented spirit. Discontentment is spiritually dangerous because: it reveals the corruption of sin and rebellion in your soul, it undermines your dignity as a child of God, and it interferes with your Christian witness to seekers.

Proverbs 19:21 (ESV)Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.

Isaiah 45:6-7 (ESV )That people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things.

Proverbs 16:4 (ESV)The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.

The concept of the control of God over everything is called the “sovereignty” of God. Nothing gives us strength and confidence like an understanding of the sovereignty of God in our lives. God’s sovereignty is defined as His complete and total independent control over every creature, event, and circumstance at every moment in history. Subject to none, influenced by none, absolutely independent, God does what He pleases, only as He pleases, always as He pleases. God is in complete control of every molecule in the universe at every moment, and everything that happens is either caused or allowed by Him for His own perfect purposes. Nothing is random or comes by chance, especially not in the lives of believers. He “purposed” it. That means to deliberately resolve to do something. God has resolved to do what He will do, and nothing and no one stands in His way. Unlimited in power, unrivaled in majesty, and not thwarted by anything outside Himself, our God is in complete control of all circumstances, causing or allowing them for His own good purposes and plans to be fulfilled exactly as He has foreordained. But we can’t trust someone we don’t know, and there is only one way to know God—through His Word. There is no magic formula to make us spiritual giants overnight, no mystical prayer to pray three times a day to mature us, build our faith, and make us towers of strength and confidence. There is only the Bible, the single source of power that will change our lives from the inside out. But it takes effort, diligent, everyday effort, to know the God who controls everything. If we drink deeply of His Word and let it fill our minds and hearts, the sovereignty of God will become clear to us, and we will rejoice in it because we will know intimately and trust completely the God who controls all things for His perfect purpose.

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Ephesians Pt14

Ephesians 5:15-21(ESV)15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Look carefully then how you walk by frequent examination of our heart and actions
2 Corinthians 13:5-6(ESV)5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! 6 I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test.

-Purposeful application of the truth we learn
Philippians 4:9(ESV)9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you

-Serious undivided attention to being a Christian

Galatians 6:9-10(ESV)9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

A Plan to Walk Carefully By…

1) Soaking up every opportunity God has give to us to learn and to share the Gospel because these are evil days. Colossians 4:5-6(ESV)5 Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. 6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person

2) Knowing the will of God through the study of God’s Word and prayer.
1 Peter 2:15-17(ESV)15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

3) Being filled with the Holy Spirit by being submissive and totally obedient to God. The results of being filled with the Holy Spirit is speaking to one another, singing in worship to the Lord, thanksgiving for everything, and submission in relationships.

James 4:7(ESV)7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

The Bible teaches that as a Christian we are to be very careful how we live our Christian life before God and others. To “look carefully” means two things. First it means frequent examination of our life. Lamentations 3:40(ESV)40 Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord! And second it means purposeful application to our lives of the truths of what we are learning. James 1:21-25(ESV)21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. We are to make sure that our motives and actions express the new creation that we in Christ. As Christians we are to carefully consider our attitudes, words, actions, desires, influences, heart, mind, spirit, emotions, our whole life and our whole Christian walk. We are to be aware of how we are living before God and before others. We are to give our Christian walk our undivided attention. Our Christian walk is to be our primary occupation.We are Christians first, before we are white, black, american, man or woman. We all need to ask ourselves how serious we are about living the Christian life. Is Christianity some important knowledge I have added to my life because it meets my needs or is my whole life given to becoming more like Christ and seeking to bring Glory to God?

Solei Deo Gloria
The Westminster Shorter Catechism asks in Question. 1. What is the chief end of man? Answer. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever. Here are two ends of life specified. 1. The glorifying of God. 2. The enjoying of God. First. The glorifying of God, 1 Peter 4:11. 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

The glory of God is a silver thread which must run through all our actions. 1 Corinthians 10:31(ESV)31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Everything works to some end in things natural and artificial; now, man being a rational creature, must propose some end to himself, and that should be, that he may lift up God in the world. He had better lose his life than the end of his living. The great truth asserted is that the end of every man’s living should be to glorify God. Glorifying God has respect to all the persons in the Trinity; it respects God the Father who gave us life; God the Son, who lost his life for us; and God the Holy Ghost, who produces a new life in us; we must bring glory to the whole Trinity

In these verses 15-21 Paul provides the Christian with a wonderful plan for righteous living. Paul outlines three steps to see carefully how we walk. Each step states the negative we are to avoid and then gives the positive we are to pursue. Verses 15-16 command us “not to be unwise but wise by making the most of our time”. Verse 17 says “not to be foolish but understand the will of the Lord”. And verses 18-21 teach that we are “not to be drunk but filled with the Spirit”. All of these commands fit together and form an excellent plan for righteous living.

We are not to live as unwise men and women but as wise men and women by making the most of our time. A strategic move for righteous living is to be wise by making the most of the opportunities that God has given us. Every opportunity that comes our way is an opportunity for righteous living or an opportunity for disobedience. A wise person makes the most out of the opportunity by choosing to bring glory to God, rather than giving in to the flesh. So how do we make the most of our opportunities? The wise Christian who desires to be righteous in how he lives soaks up every opportunity that comes his way to learn, to obey, to serve, to grow in Christ. The careful Christian turns away from unwise wasteful opportunities, those things which are not worth your time, says no temptations to sin, does not keep wrong company, turns away from worldly input to the mind, and wisely seeks every opportunity to put on the new man which is created in righteousness and holiness.

do not get drunk with wine. When he instructs them do not get drunk, he forbids excessive and unrestrained drinking of every description. “Do not lack self control in drinking. for that is debauchery. The meaning therefore is, that drunkards throw off quickly every restraint of modesty or shame; that where wine reigns, reckless naturally follows; and consequently, anyone who has any regard to moderation or decency ought to avoid and detest drunkenness. Being filled with the Spirit means, basically, having great joy in God. And since the Bible teaches that “the joy of the Lord is our strength”
Nehemiah 8:10(ESV)10 Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”, it also means there will be power in this joy for overcoming sins and for boldness in our witness.

Basically, it means radiant joy, because the Spirit who fills us is the Spirit of joy that flows between God the Father and God the Son because of the delight they have in each other. Therefore, to be filled with the Spirit means to be caught into the joy that flows among the Holy Trinity and to love God the Father and God the Son with the very love with which they love each other. And then the way to be filled with the Spirit is by trusting that the God of hope really reigns—that not a sparrow falls to the ground apart from his will (Matthew 10:29).In believing that, you will be filled with the Holy Spirit and with joy.

The contrast with drunkenness is the key here. What do people go to alcohol for? For a happy hour. We all want to be happy, but there is a problem: “The days are evil.” Notice the logic of verses 16–18 in Ephesians 5:

The days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk . . . but be filled with the Spirit.

Joy is different from happiness, happiness comes from happenings, joy comes from the spirit of the Lord. You can be joyful and not be happy.

Where do you turn when the days are evil, when you are frightened or discouraged or depressed or anxious? Paul pleads with us: “Don’t turn to alcohol; turn to the Spirit. Anything of value that alcohol can bring you, God the Holy Spirit can bring more.”

There are people who can’t begin to whistle a happy tune or sing a song at work because they are so tense and anxious about life. But later in the evening at the bar with a few drinks under their belt they can put their arms around each other and sing and laugh. All of us long to be carefree, uninhibited, happy. And the mounting tragedy of our own day, as in Paul’s, is that increasing numbers of people (even Christians) believe that the only way they can find this child-like freedom is by drugging themselves with alcohol or other mind altering substances. Such behavior dishonors God, and so Paul says: There is a better way to cope with the evil days—be filled with the Spirit, stay filled with the Spirit. And you will know unmatched joy that sings and makes melody to the Lord.

The fundamental meaning of being filled with the Spirit is being filled with joy that comes from God and overflows in song. And Luke would agree with that, too, because he says in Acts 13:52, “The disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” To be sure, one of the marks of a person filled with the Spirit is that he is made strong to witness in the face of opposition.

Acts 1:8(ESV)8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Acts 4:8-12(ESV)8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, 9 if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, 10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. 11 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Acts 4:
31(ESV)31 And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.

Acts 7:55(ESV)55 But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.
Acts 13:4-12(ESV)4 So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. 5 When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had John to assist them. 6 When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they came upon a certain magician, a Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus. 7 He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas the magician (for that is the meaning of his name) opposed them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. 9 But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him 10 and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? 11 And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.” Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand. 12 Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had occurred, for he was astonished at the teaching of the Lord.

But the reason for this is that “the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). When you have the joy of the Lord, you are a strong and brave witness to his grace. Whatever happiness or false peace you find in alcohol, the Spirit of God can give you more. Even the psalmist of the Old Testament had experienced this. He says in Psalm 4:7-8(ESV) 7 You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. 8 In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

To psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs. These are truly pleasant and delightful fruits. The Spirit means “joy in the Holy Ghost,” (Romans 14:17(ESV)17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. and the exhortation, but be filled, (ver. 18,) alludes to deep drinking, with which it is indirectly contrasted. addressing one another, is speaking among themselves. Nor does he enjoin them to sing inwardly or alone; for he immediately adds, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart; as if he had said, “Let your praises be not merely on the tongue, as hypocrites do, but from the heart.”

Did you ever notice when you are around joyful people, or when you are joyful you hum, sing, make melodies? The abundance of joy comes out in song, and it is for the glory of God that we sing.

The last part Ephesians 5:20-21(ESV)20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. No matter the circumstances or whatever it is youa re going through it says to “give thanks always and for everything” what about the seemingly “bad things” Give thanks for that also because character is being built.

Romans 5:1-5 (ESV)Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

1 Thessalonians 5:18(ESV)18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

James 1:2-4(ESV)2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

None of these verses give any credence or or credit to Satan as the author of any of the seemingly “bad” things that happen. These verses tell a different story than what most churches and denominations teach. If it is bad then it is the devil, if it is good then it is of God. They unwillingly deny the sovereignty of God when they give credit to the devil for something God is using to build character into you through sanctification. These verse all state to give God thanks in ALL circumstances. Nothing escapes God’s notice; nothing oversteps the boundaries of His power. God is authoritative in all things. Augustine said that nothing happens in this universe apart from the will of God and that, in a certain sense, God ordains everything that happens. Augustine was not attempting to absolve men of responsibility for their actions. Men are responsible for their choices, but none of it is out of God’s will. One of the great themes of the Reformation was the idea that all of life is to be lived under the authority of God, to the glory of God, in the presence of God.

Isaiah 46:9-10(ESV) 9 remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me,10 declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’

Job 42:2(ESV) 2 “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.

Just because God knows all and nothing happens outside of His will does not mean God is the author of sin, nor is He the author of temptation.
James 1:13-15(ESV Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

By the sovereignty of God, we have a free will and are able to make choices and decisions that shape our lives. Our free will is in the confines of God’s sovereignty. God’s “sovereignty” means that He is absolute in authority and unrestricted in His supremacy. Everything that happens is, at the very least, the result of God’s permissive will.While we do not possess God’s infinite power, we can surrender our hearts, souls, minds to ways that are consistent with His holy will. This is what the Holy Spirit helps us do in our sanctification.  In this way, we honor the Creator and Sustainer of all things, recognizing God is truly sovereign. Colossians 1:16-17(ESV)16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

Mutual submission will begin to take place when each Christian learns how to consider others better than self. This way of living will call for a large dose of Christ-like love and humility as we look out for the interests of others first. Philippians 2:3-4(ESV)3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Whatever role we have been given provides us an opportunity to serve our brothers and sisters in Christ. (Larry Richards, The Teacher’s Commentary, p. 930.) It is when we accept our role as husband, wife, employer, employee, community leader, or citizen in light of Christ’s teaching and example, with a reverence for Him and His heavenly Father that we will begin to serve one another.

Without exception, the Greek word for “submission,” hupotassõ, always signals obedience to God-given authority.As we can see, believers welcome the opportunity of submitting to proper leaders. Biblical submission never means mindlessness. It actually signifies the opposite—a joyful, wholehearted commitment to follow a worthy figure. Submission is not dependent on perfect performance, either. As church members called to submit to church leaders, for example, we will glimpse sin in our leaders’ lives. Submission to God-constituted authority does not come and go. It is the very essence of Christian faith and discipleship. When we repent and believe, we do nothing other than confess to a holy God, “You are right, and I am wrong; I submit to you.” The fundamental posture of a believer toward God is submission.

Ephesians Pt 13 Walk in the Light

Ephesians 5:1-14(ESV)5 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, 

“Awake, O sleeper, 

and arise from the dead, 

and Christ will shine on you.” 

Last week I spoke on it is not what you say as much as it is why you are saying it, this also goes with anger, it is why you are angry that determines if it is sin or not. Motive means everything, but crude joking, filthiness, foolish talk there is never a place for that. Harsh language is sometimes necessary but as far vulgar, crude joking there is never a place for that. Paul is writing here to let us know that we should be imitators of God and therefore no sexual immorality, no crude joking, impure or covetous thinking or behaving is allowed. God is very serious about these things. So much so that Paul writes these serious words to the church in Corinth.

1 Corinthians 5:9–13(ESV)I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.” 

If you claim the name of Christ, you can and should be judged by those in the Church. If you insist on perpetuating a false teaching, or affirming sin and sinful lifestyles, it is the responsibility of Christians to correct your error graciously and Scripturally, and it is your responsibility to submit to the authority of Scripture, or to deny your faith.

Disagree? Then disagree with Paul.

Ephesians 5:6-7(ESV)Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them;

6. Let no man deceive you. There have always been ungodly dogs, by whom the threatenings of the prophets were made the subject of merriment and ridicule. We find such characters in our own day. In all ages, indeed, Satan raises up sorcerers of this description, who endeavour by unholy scoffs to escape the Divine judgment, and who actually exercise a kind of fascination over consciences not sufficiently established in the fear of God. “This is a trivial fault. Fornication is viewed by God as a light matter. Under the law of grace God is not so cruel. He has not formed us so as to be our own executioners. The frailty of nature excuses us.” These and similar expressions are often used by the scoffers. Paul, on the contrary, exclaims that we must guard against that sophistry by which consciences are ensnared to their ruin.

John Calvin and William Pringle, Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul to the Galatians and Ephesians (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2010), 307–308.

We are to always give defense for the gospel and what we believe. We are not to be in unison with those who deceivers. We need to be on guard and on the offense when it comes to false teaching and also to be careful who or what we give our attention too.

TO WALK AS CHILDREN OF LIGHT, WE MUST BE CHILDREN OF LIGHT Ephesians 5:8(ESV)for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.

Notice it doesn’t say we were in darkness but we were darkness. Being children of light implies that this profound change comes from God’s power in the new birth. It is an act of His creative power. Just as He at the first created light out of the darkness, so now He has changed us from being darkness itself into being light in the Lord.

Paul says that we formerly were darkness. We were spiritually blind. We not only didn’t see God’s glory and truth, we didn’t have the ability or desire to see such things.

Romans 3:10-12(ESV)10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands;no one seeks for God.12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” 
Romans 8:5-9(ESV)For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. We didn’t sense our need for the Savior, because we thought we were good enough to go to heaven and we didn’t understand the absolute holiness and justice of God. So we lived entirely for ourselves and our own pleasure, avoiding the thought of death and eternity.

But, when God saved us, He opened the eyes of our understanding so that we saw “the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6). We saw our true condition as guilty sinners, but we also saw the all sufficiency of Jesus and His death on the cross to cover all our sins. We had a new understanding of God’s Word and a new desire to know God and His truth more and more. We now hate the sin that we formerly lived in and we long to be like our Savior, holy in all our ways. We now walk in the light, rather than in darkness, because God has made us light in the Lord.

That we now are light in the Lord means that Christ has made us holy, that is, those who hate sin and love what pleases God. Through the cross of Christ we became righteous, that is, not guilty; but by His Spirit we become holy. We are therefore people who love God and who can, by the new life which God gives us, do what is pleasing in His sight.

Now to walk as children of light we must walk as Christ walked. He never committed one sin. Never had He had a sinful thought or desire; and never did He break the smallest part of any of God’s commandments. Since He is the Son of God, He is light; and surely He is a perfect example for us to follow.

It is true that Satan tried to get Him to sin; but Jesus told him to get behind Him and quit his tempting. Satan comes every day trying to get us to be unholy; and we need to pay attention to this call to walk as children of light. Those who walk as Christ did are Christians. They reveal it in what they do. Stand therefore before the mirror of God’s Word to see every step of your earthly life; and then you may know whether you are a Christian, one with the life of Christ in you.

Paul in makes it plain that living apart from the darkness does not mean withdrawing completely from the world and living in a christian bubble. Instead, walking as children of the light means not engaging in the sins of the unbelieving culture even as we love the sinners around us and engage them with the gospel. When it comes to interacting with the world, we are not prohibited from making friends with those who are still enslaved to sin; rather, we are prohibited from acting in ways that displease God like they do. Paul explains that we are not to take merely a defensive stance against dark deeds and stay away from them. Our approach must be offensive — we are to “expose” unfruitful works of darkness. A fighter cannot win a fight from a defensive stance. The exchange in the immediate context between light and darkness helps us understand how this exposure happens. That which is hidden in the darkness can be revealed only when light shines on it, and by walking in Christ we shine the light of holiness on the dark recesses of this world. If we are in a completely dark room and turn a light on all the cockroaches will scatter and the darkness will flee. Our efforts to live sanctified lives stand in obvious contrast to the evil of our fallen culture, thereby exposing sinners for who they truly are and unveiling what they truly deserve — the wrath of God. Our preaching of the gospel goes hand in hand with such living so that those whose deeds are exposed might know that they will escape the darkness if they come to Jesus. Which is why it is important to not sugar coat sin, but rather expose it for what it is.

Only two responses can follow such exposure. Many will hate the light and those whose lives provide the illumination, and they will try to stamp out the light and silence the church. John 3:19–20(ESV)19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.
 Acts 14:8–23(ESV)8 Now at Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet. He was crippled from birth and had never walked. 9 He listened to Paul speaking. And Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well,[a] 10 said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he sprang up and began walking. 11 And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycaonian, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” 12 Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. 13 And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds. 14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out, 15 “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. 16 In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. 17 Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” 18 Even with these words they scarcely restrained the people from offering sacrifice to them.19 But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. 20 But when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and entered the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe. 21 When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. 23 And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed. Others will feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit and see the darkness of their deeds. They will turn from their sin to Christ and thereby begin to glorify the Lord. To sum it up the non elect when exposed to the truth will try to suppress the truth, they will find fault with the bringer of the truth to try to discredit the truth. The ELECT will feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit and repent. The non elect will suppress the truth the elect will embrace the truth.

People don’t like their evil exposed and people don’t like you exposing anyone else so you don’t expose them. These so-called believers today will go against God’s Word and stand up for the devil and fight against God by condoning and supporting wickedness. You are to hate everything that God hates. Every biblical leader stood up against evil and many even lost their lives for speaking against it. There is a reason Jesus says true believers will be hated and persecuted. If you desire to live a godly life you will be persecuted and there is no way around it.

That is why many believers stay quiet whenever they’re on the hot seat they hush up in fear of man. Jesus spoke up, Stephen spoke up, Paul spoke up so why are we quiet? We must not be afraid to rebuke others. If someone is going astray from Christ are you going to be silent so they won’t hate you or are you going to humbly and lovingly say something?

The Holy Spirit will convict the world of its sins. If we stop defending Christianity, exposing evil, rebuking false teachers, and confronting believers we will have more people lost and led astray. More people will believe false teachings I mean look how many people twist “thou shall not judge.”

Titus 1:10-13(ESV)10 For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. 11 They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. 12 One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” 13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith,

The sin of being silent.

Ezekiel 3:18-19(ESV)18 If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. 19 But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul.

Matthew 5:14–16(ESV)14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

The light of God that shines through us both illumines and transforms, exposes and cleanses. Those whom the light redeems become visible, and that which is visible is light. In other words, formerly dark individuals are cleansed and become lights through whom our Savior shines brightly. This is what happened at our conversion, and we continue to become ever brighter lights as we, through confession and repentance, expose our sin to God and flee from it.

Ephesians 5:13-14(ESV) 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, 

“Awake, O sleeper, 

and arise from the dead, 

and Christ will shine on you.”

RT Kendall was the minister at Westminster Chapel, London from 1977-2002. and wrote this about the sleeping church.

There are three characteristic of sleep:

1. You don’t know you were asleep until you wake up. We’ve all done this – to lie down for a moment to relax – only to find out we slept for a while!

2. You do things in your sleep you would not do if you were awake. Our dreams prove this. Whether such dreams are unexpressed fears or wishes, as Sigmund Freud might say, we do things when asleep we would not do if awake.

3. We hate the sound of an alarm. How would you like to be awakened at 2am? We resent being woken up. We want to sleep on.

A sleeping Church

Here are some signs we are asleep at the present time:

•The absence of conviction of sin

•A lack of the fear of God

•Little sense of outrage over the godlessness of society

•Watching pornography and feeling justified

•Avarice, greed and lack of financial integrity

•No sense of outrage over the Church’s lack of credibility in the world

•Little or no concern about people going to hell

•Little concern about the lack of knowledge of God’s word

•Indifference to the biblical view of marriage

•Indifference to holding grudges and unforgiveness

•Indifference to talking to people about Christ

•Tolerating heresies such as open theism and hyper-grace teaching

•Indifference to the teaching that the Bible is infallible

•Indifference to how much time is spent in prayer and quiet time

The greatest evidence that we are asleep is our lack of outrage over what is tolerated in the Church and what is going on in the world. Not only are we indifferent to what is happening before our eyes, we have become so used to it that we are virtually impervious to it. The biblical view of marriage is on the way out. Terrorism is at our doors. Church attendance is declining more than ever. We are losing our young people. If someone calls things like this to our attention we say, “Oh yes. It’s pretty awful.” Then we roll over. Zzzzzzzz. “Let me sleep on.”

I believe the next thing to happen on God’s calendar is not the second coming of Jesus but the awakening of the Church before the second coming. It is when the word and Spirit ultimately come together as on the Day of Pentecost. The simultaneous combination of the word and Spirit resulted in spontaneous combustion.

What should sadden us at the present moment, however, is that the world does not respect the Church. There is virtually no fear of God in the land.

When Jonathan Edwards preached his sermon ‘Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God’ on 8th July 1741, the immediate fallout was that men held on to church pews and trees outside to keep from slipping into hell. God only did this once during the New England Great Awakening. But the power of it was so profound that word of that sermon and its immediate effect spread all over New England in days and all over England in weeks. For some reason God does this sort of thing rarely. But when he steps in like that the world is affected by it.

In 1802, in an area called Cane Ridge in Bourbon County, Kentucky a Methodist lay preacher stood on a fallen tree on a Sunday morning before 15,000 people, taking his text from 2 Corinthians 5:10 – “We must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ to give an account of things done in the body, whether good or bad”. As he spoke hundreds fell to the ground by the power of the Holy Spirit. It was the beginning of the camp meeting phenomena. The Great Awakening lasted for over 20 years. The Cane Ridge Revival lasted only four days.

Both of these phenomena brought about a fear of God that spread all over America for a good while. But who fears God today? Not many, I suspect. An awakened Church will help restore a fear of the Lord in the nations. No election will do it. No act of Parliament will do it. But God can do it. And I believe he will do it. Soon.

Ephesians Pt 12 Slander, Anger and Foul Language

Ephesians 4:25-32(ESV) Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

The Father chooses, the Son Redeems, the Holy Spirit Seals. V30 says do not grieve the Holy Spirit. We need to remember that the Holy Spirit is not a distant, abstract deity and certainly not an impersonal force. No, the Holy Spirit is a person, for only a genuine and personable being is capable of this kind of thinking, feeling, and emotion. In fact, when we understand that the Spirit is a person it should surprise us only if he would not or could not feel grief in the face of our sin. “There is some sadness in the consideration that the Holy Spirit, the One who is our Comforter (John 14:16), is himself grieved by our sin. Sins that bring disunity to the church also bring grief to the Holy Spirit. Again, Bryan Chapell says, “The same Spirit who convicts my heart of sin, generates in me love for God, gives me new birth, provides my apprehension of the beauty of grace in the world, and seals my redemption until the coming of my Lord—this same Spirit who loves me so intimately and perfectly, I can cause to grieve.”

It is also worth noting what Paul does not say, for there is comfort to be had here. Paul does not threaten abandonment. Clinton Arnold makes this point and concludes “Under the new covenant, the Spirit does not depart when sin is committed. Instead, the Spirit deeply grieves over it. Paul presents this as a truth that should motivate believers not to indulge their sinful desires—whether this might be filthy talk, stealing, uncontrolled anger, lying, or any other vice.” The true believer does not need to fear that God will respond to sin by giving up and moving out. We are sealed by the Spirit for all eternity.

We grieve the Spirit when we sin and we especially grieve the Spirit when we sin in ways that cause discord, perhaps because unity is a special work of the Spirit.

The old saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is simply not true. Words can do a great deal of damage to those who have been slandered. Slander is making a false verbal statement that damages someone’s reputation. Slander differs slightly from libel in that libel is a written defamation of character; slander is only spoken. Remember that when you read something on Facebook that is not true or you are tempted to write something that is not true about another, you are involved in libel and can be sued.The Bible says a lot about slander, in both Old and New Testament.
Proverbs 10:18(ESV)The one who conceals hatred has lying lips,and whoever utters slander is a fool.

1 Peter 2:1-5(ESV)So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. 2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.4 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Slander is a sin that is very high on God’s list, so much so that He listed it as #9 in the Ten Commandments Exodus 20:16(ESV).“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” Bearing false witness includes slander because of the untruths being spread. Slander is simply lying about someone with the intent of causing others to view that person in a negative light.

Slander is malicious lying, and God hates lying.
Proverbs 6:16–19(ESV)There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him:17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,18 a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil,19 a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.

Proverbs 12:22(ESV)Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.

Proverbs 13:5(ESV) 5 The righteous hates falsehood, but the wicked brings shame and disgrace.

John 8:44(ESV)44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

God is the author of truth. John 14:6(ESV)6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me, Anything untrue is in opposition to His nature and therefore repulsive to Him. Both slander and gossip are wrong, and Scripture often condemns them together (Leviticus 19:16(ESV)16 You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not stand up against the life of your neighbor: I am the Lord., but slander takes gossip to a whole new level. Gossip collects someone’s secrets and passes them to others; slander makes up its own secrets and broadcasts them wherever they will do the most harm.(ie:Facebook)

When we slander others, we are choosing to step out of the path God designed for us. He will not participate with us in our attempts to destroy someone else with our words. Slander comes from the heart, and when we are tempted to speak untruths about someone, we should first examine our own hearts to see what ugly root is producing those desires.

Matthew 15:16-18(ESV)18 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.

The life of Jesus has shown us that being angry, in itself, is not evil. Ephesians 4:25–32 takes this idea a step further. Paul tells us not only that we are permitted to be angry, he also says there are times when we must be angry. When Jesus cleared the temple of the moneychangers and animal-sellers, He showed great emotion and anger (Matthew 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-18; John 2:13-22). Jesus’ emotion was described as “zeal” for God’s house (John 2:17). His anger was pure and completely justified because at its root was concern for God’s holiness and worship. Because these were at stake, Jesus took quick and decisive action. Another time Jesus showed anger was in the synagogue of Capernaum. When the Pharisees refused to answer Jesus’ questions, “He looked around at them in anger, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts” (Mark 3:5).

Many times, we think of anger as a selfish, destructive emotion that we should eradicate from our lives altogether. However, the fact that Jesus did sometimes become angry indicates that anger itself, as an emotion, is amoral. This is borne out elsewhere in the New Testament. Ephesians 4:26 instructs us “in your anger do not sin” and not to let the sun go down on our anger. The command is not to “avoid anger” (or suppress it or ignore it) but to deal with it properly, in a timely manner. While anger is often viewed as a completely negative emotion, there are times a person can be angry for appropriate reasons. In the case of Jesus, His anger was the result of ungodly attitudes and actions by those around Him.

Six things that made Jesus Angry
1. Hypocrisy – Pharisees – Matthew 15 & 23

2. Greed – Money Changers – John 2:15-17

3. Lukewarm Living – Revelation 3:15

4. Hard Heartedness Mark 3:5

5. Superiority – exalted doctrines of men Matthew 23

6. Spiritual Pride – pharisees vs tax collector Luke 18:9-14

The anger of Jesus did not result in a long-term grudge. Instead, His anger was an emotion that resulted in proper actions. Today’s believers must seek the same response. Anger left unchecked or wrongly motivated can result in long-term unforgiveness that causes problems in a believer’s own life.

If they made Jesus angry we could say that we could get angry at these as well.

That the Lord would command us to be angry at times is understandable when we consider biblical ethics. In the same letter Paul summarizes what we need to know about Christian virtues by telling us to be “imitators of God” (5:1). Our Father in heaven can only be perfectly holy if He gets angry when His righteous standards are violated. If we are to imitate Him, we too must get mad at those things that make God angry. We must grow incensed when we see the weak and helpless exploited, because the Lord’s wrath is kindled against the oppressor. Exodus 22:21–24(ESV)21 “You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. 22 You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child. 23 If you do mistreat them, and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry, 24 and my wrath will burn, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless.. Hypocrisy in our lives and in the church must disturb us because of Jesus’ anger at those who honor Him with their lips only (Matthew 15:8(ESV)“‘This people honors me with their lips,but their heart is far from me;

Yet we are imperfect, and while we must sometimes get angry, we must also take care that we do not sin in our anger (Ephesians 4:26). Every time we are mad, we should check ourselves to see if we are upset at the things God hates. Otherwise we may be angry without just cause and give opportunity to the Devil (v. 27). Anger is the emotion most prone to sinful abuse, and this is why Paul also tells us to put anger away in this same passage (v. 31). This is not a contradiction of verse 26, Paul is only recognizing that our anger, even if it is godly at first, is too often perverted into feelings of malice instead of a longing to see offenders repent. When this happens, we are in danger of giving root to the bitterness that destroys. Hebrews 12:15(ESV)15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; 

Finally, though evil should anger us, we are not always to pour wrath on others. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees because of their hard hearts (Matthew 23), but He was kind and gentle to the adulterous woman because she was humble and contrite (John 7:53–8:11). We cannot condone sin, but we must also imitate our Savior and seek to restore the repentant in instead of showing the full brunt of our wrath.

Words are all we have, really. We have thoughts but thoughts are fluid. Then we assign a word to a thought and we’re stuck with that word for that thought, so be careful with words.The same words that hurt can heal, it’s a matter of how you pick them. There are some people that aren’t into all the words.There are some that would have you not use certain words.

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths…” I wonder what determines corrupting talk? Does the pop culture? Does the FCC? Do the religious people? Nope. The answer comes in the second part of the statement: “… but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” This statement both makes cussing relative and invites some study of its context. The test, does using this word tear someone down or build up? If it doesn’t tear them down (because it is part of a language they understand) then we ought not live in a legalism that the Scriptures don’t impose.

Isaiah 5:20(ESV)Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!  We are supposed to use good words for good things and bad words for bad things, the problems start when we mix them up. When we start to assume certain words are bad and certain words are good. Or we allow culture to dictate what is good and what is bad instead of letting scripture tell us.

Bible Translations are filtered through a bit of political correctness. As a pastor one of my goals is to instill a passion to interpret and believe what the Bible actually says into you guys. Not what we want it to say, but what it really says in all its grit and occasional offensiveness. Cleaning up God’s word is like telling a chef he didn’t prepare the meal correctly for the patrons.

But religious people have been covering up  seemingly obscene language in the Bible for centuries. Jewish scribes in the middle ages, who copied the Hebrew Old Testament used as the base for all English translations, edited out some vulgar words and replaced them with nicer ones. For instance, God originally prophesied through Zechariah that women in Israel would be raped by wicked, invading armies. The word God inspired is shagel, and according to Hebrew linguists, shagel is an obscene word that describes a sexual act. But whenever God said shagel  as in Deuteronomy 28:30(ESV)30 You shall betroth a wife, but another man shall ravish her. You shall build a house, but you shall not dwell in it. You shall plant a vineyard, but you shall not enjoy its fruit.;

Isaiah 13:16(HCSB)Their children will be smashed to death before their eyes; their houses will be looted, and their wives raped., 

The Masorites replaced it with the more tame shakev—“to lie with.” And all of our “literal” English translations agree that the word from the middle ages is better than the one spoken by our Creator.

Ezekiel 23:16-21(ESV)
Ezekiel 16 (ESV)

Modern translators edit out the vulgarity so that Ezekiel can be read in church. The apostle Paul was so enrapture by the scandalous grace of God that he did what we considered the greatest sin of all, he assumedly cussed! Philippians 3:8(NET)“I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as skubala, in order that I may gain Christ” . The Greek word skubala is more vulgar than crap and dung, and as harsh as s**t. Either way, most translations dim it down by using words like “rubbish,” which means trash, not excrement, or “dung” which is more accurate but far less offensive. And yes my friends, that word is a first century cuss word.

Galatians 5:12(HCSB)12 I wish those who are disturbing you might also get themselves castrated!

Matthew 23:33(ESV)33 You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?
Malachi 2:3(ESV) Behold, I will rebuke your offspring, and spread dung on your faces, the dung of your offerings, and you shall be taken away with it.

So…God said “whore,” called religious leaders “snakes”, said he would rub peoples faces in dung, told religious people to basically go ahead and cut it off. WOW! So much for the safe, tame and predictable God that most churches portray.

There are times that a speaker is called to say things that will shock and offend people…and that is ok. I don’t personally think a speaker should ever try to be shocking just for the sake of doing so…but I do believe, according to Scripture, that there are times when controversial and bold statements need to be made!

In some ways, it’s understandable that we don’t want to be using this type of language in church. But, on the other hand, the Gospel is offensive. Grace is scandalous. And that’s the real point. The biblical prophets sometimes use offensive language, but not to produce shock for its own sake. Edginess was never the goal, and neither was some vague notion of Christian “freedom.” God’s messengers used vulgar images to shock their religious audience out of complacency. Because sometimes the goodness of God becomes lost in the fog of Christianese rhetoric and religious routine, and the only way to wake us up is to use provocative language.

So how do we reconcile Ezekiel, Paul and Jesus’ filthy tongue with Ephesians 4:29(ESV)? 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Does this outlaw all forms of vulgarity? Not exactly. The word for “corrupting” (sapros) literally means “rotten, decaying, unwholesome.” The whole point is not to forbid certain words that are labeled “cuss words” by its culture, but all speech that does not “build up.”

Paul’s warning here does include using obscene or vulgar language that tears someone down, reflects worldly motives, or in any other way that’s unfit for a redeemed way of life. But “corrupting” primarily refers to slander, gossip or any other speech that tears someone down. Paul refers to the dangerous power of words, all words, when used to dehumanize another human being. Gossiping about a fellow church member, dropping a belittling comment on a blog or Facebook post or holding up a hateful sign at a gay-pride parade are all good examples of “corrupting” talk.

The Bible makes this abundantly clear.

1Peter 3:10(ESV)“For, whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech.”
James 3:9-12(ESV) summarizes the issue: “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.”

So what is the meaning of Ephesians 4:29(ESV) Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

James makes it clear that the lives of Christians—the “brothers”—should not be characterized by evil speech. By making the analogy of both salt water and fresh water coming from the same spring (which is uncharacteristic of springs), he makes the point that it is uncharacteristic for a believer to have both praise and gossip, perverse, or corrupt speech come from his/her mouth. Nor is it characteristic for us to praise God on one hand and curse our brothers on the other. This, too, is uncharacteristic of a true believer. Gossip is like a secret craving. We say we don’t like it, but when it’s within reach, we almost can’t resist it. We get a sudden appetite to know what we don’t know… about somebody else.

Why is it so hard to stop? Proverbs 18:8(HCSB)A gossip’s words are like choice food that goes down to one’s innermost being

No, you might think. Not me. I’m not into sharing the dirty details about a person’s life just for fun. But gossip comes in many flavors, and it involves listening as well. Proverbs 17:4(HCSB)  A wicked person listens to malicious talk;a liar pays attention to a destructive tongue.

The Hebrew word translated “gossip” in the Old Testament is defined as “one who reveals secrets, one who goes about as a talebearer or scandal-monger.” A gossiper is a person who has privileged information about people and proceeds to reveal that information to those who have no business knowing it. Gossip is distinguished from sharing information in two ways:

1. Intent. Gossipers often have the goal of building themselves up by making others look bad and exalting themselves as some kind of repositories of knowledge.

2. The type of information shared. Gossipers speak of the faults and failings of others, or reveal potentially embarrassing or shameful details regarding the lives of others without their knowledge or approval. Even if they mean no harm, it is still gossip.

Jesus explained that what comes out of our mouths is that which fills our hearts. Sooner or later, the evil in the heart comes out through the mouth in curses and swearing. But when our hearts are filled with the goodness of God, praise for Him and love for others will pour forth. Our speech will always indicate what is in our hearts. Luke 6:45(ESV) “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks”.

Sin is a condition of the heart, the mind, and “the inner man”, which is manifested in our thoughts, actions and words. When we gossip and use rotten speech, we are giving evidence of the polluting sin in our hearts that must be confessed and repented of. Thankfully, our great God is 1 John 1:9(ESV)“faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness”. When this happens, we receive a new nature from God (2 Corinthians 5:17), our hearts are transformed, and our speech reflects the new nature God has created within us.

In the end the battle for purity in the mouth is fought in the heart, because “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” If we see this, we won’t be as surprised with what Paul says in Ephesians. It is not what you might expect. We might expect Paul to rebuke us to clean up our language. We might expect him to talk about words that are not vulgar or rotten or corrupt, but are pure and wholesome and creative and clear. But Paul doesn’t do what we expect.

Instead of proposing clean language, he proposes a whole new way of thinking about language. Instead of saying, “You don’t need dirty language to communicate your intention,” he says, “The root issue is whether your intention is love.” In other words the issue for Paul is not really language at all; the issue is love. The issue is not whether our mouth can avoid gross language; the issue is whether our mouth is a means of grace. You see he shifts from the external fruit to the internal root. He shifts from what we say to why we say it. That’s the issue.

The question for your attitude should be “Is what I am angry with angers God as well? or am I angry because I am not getting my way? The question for your mouth will not merely be the moral question: Am I avoiding dirty words? But the Christian question: Am I building the faith of others by what I say? Is my mouth a means of grace? Am I frightened and anxious and angry about my life, or am I filled and overflowing with hope that the Spirit of God will keep me safe for the day of redemption?