What are you talking about?

11 09 2008

“Is it possible that any man should love another and not commend him, nor speak of him? If thou hast but a hawk or a hound that thou lovest, thou wilt commend it; and is it consistent with love to Christ, to seldom or never speak of Him nor of His love, never to commend Him unto others, that they may fall in love with Him also? Is it consistent with this life of love, to be always speaking about worldly affairs, or news at the best; both week-day and Sabbath-day, in good company and bad, at home and abroad? I tell you, it should be one main reason why you desire to live, that you may make the Lord Jesus known to your children, friends, acquaintances, that so in the ages to come His name might ring, and His memorial might be of sweet aroma, from generation to generation. If before thy conversion thou hast poisoned others by vain and corrupt speeches, after thy conversion thou wilt seek to season the hearts of others by a gracious, sweet and wise communication of savoury and blessed speeches; what the Lord hath taught thee thou wilt talk of it to others, for the sake of Him whom thou lovest.” –Thomas Sheppard

 

How many words do you speak or write in a day? It would be mind boggling to count them. Christian rapper shai linne said, “Every rapper is a preacher the only question is, What’s your sermon about?” It’s true not only of emcees but of all of us every day. How much do we talk about Christ compared to how much we talk about worldly junk and nonsense? The words I speak are an overflow of my heart. What spills out of my lips is evidence of what I love and cherish. Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.”

 

Listen to yourself today. What is the subject of your speech. What are you promoting? Is it the new movie you just saw? Is it that hot new song your friend hipped you to? Is it the latest plot twists of your favorite TV show? Or is it that Scripture the Lord just laid on your heart with fresh understanding? Or the sermon you heard last Sunday that really spoke to your conscience? Or the challenges you’re facing in seeking to share Christ with someone who’s lost but listening? Or the beauty of Christ and His grace that you have been discovering lately in your prayer life?

 

Every life and conversation is a sermon. The only question is “What are you preaching about?”

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Are you a murderer?

23 08 2008

When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.” [Ezekiel 3:18]

 

Are you a murderer? The comments of Jesus in Matthew 5:21-22 make it plain that murder is more than just the act of taking someone’s physical life. The sixth commandment requires more of us than merely keeping ourselves from choking the life out of someone who provokes us to anger.

 

In his exposition of the sixth commandment, James Durham talks about the duty that we have to preserve the spiritual life of our brothers. Sin kills. In this respect all who are unfaithful to others in the matter of their souls, or who cause them to sin, or give them occasion to sin, become guilty of soul-murder. God told the prophet Ezekiel that it was his duty to warn men of the judgments that would come to those who refuse to repent and turn to the Lord. If Ezekiel failed to do this, God said, “his blood I will require at your hands.” This is also why the Apostle Paul, when reviewing his ministry among the Gentiles, was able to say, “I am innocent of the blood of all men.”

 

Here are some ways that we can commit the sin of soul-murder…

 

  1. By giving advice or counsel that leads a person to a sinful course of action.
  2. By consenting to the sin of others, or in any way assisting, approving, or encouraging them in it.
  3. By provoking others, and stirring them up to sin in their reaction to us.
  4. By setting an evil example, that others imitate by sinning.
  5. By not warning faithfully before sin is committed.
  6. By not rebuking sin after it is committed.
  7. By rebuking sin too lightly, and thus failing to point out its seriousness.
  8. By putting men in leadership positions for which they are not qualified.
  9. By teaching error that leads men into a false hope.

 

Durham writes, “This sort of murder abounds and is very common, and yet is in a special manner forbidden by the sixth commandment, and the prevention of it accordingly called for; it being a greater evidence of love to our neighbor to be careful of his soul than of his body, the one being more precious than the other. And however false prophets, teachers and seducers seem ordinarily to be most tender of men’s persons, and most desirous to please them, yet are they in this sort horridly guilty of their murder.”

 

Are you careful for the spiritual welfare of those around you? The law tells us that if we see a person in danger of death, and we have the means to prevent it, but we stand idly by and do nothing, we bear a measure of responsibility for their death. God tells us that the same is true of the spiritual death of those around us. If you see your brother or sister in danger of sin, and you know that the wages of sin is death, what will you do to keep them from sinning? Can you say with Paul, “I am innocent of the blood of all men?”





Such is Life…

19 08 2008

[Originally printed in The Sword and the Trowel, by Charles Haddon Spurgeon]

Such is LIFE. A bubble, brilliant with rainbow hues, delighting the eye of youth for a moment and then gone for ever, leaving not a trace behind. Man wilt thou risk thine all upon that bubble? Be wise and seek substantial good, and since this can ne’er be found beneath the skies, cry to the God of Heaven for his gracious aid.

Such is LIFE. A gourd, like that of Jonah, which cometh up in a night and dieth in a night. Wilt thou make its leaves thine only shelter? Then what wilt thou do when the gourd is withered and the hot sun of divine wrath scorches thee? O that thou wouldst fly to Jesus who is the shadow of a great rock in a weary land!

Such is LIFE. A meteor blazing its moment and then lost in darkness! If thou be sane thou wilt desire another and more lasting light than this can give thee! The Sun of Righteousness Shines on for ever.

Such is LIFE. Like the swift ship which skims the deep and soon disappears beneath the horizon’s line! Shall thy happiness be as fleeting as this? Dost thou not long for a more enduring joy?

Such is LIFE. As the eagle which hasteth to its prey, so passeth away thine earthly existence! Whither art thou flying? Immortal Spirit, to what country art thou bound? Thou canst not pause, but thou mayest think, and it may be the Lord may turn thee heavenwards!

Such is LIFE. An arrow speeding from a bow, a hart bounding over the plain. Speed is found in its highest degree in our life; none can outrun it. O friend, art thou ready for the grave and the judgment? for in a few days thou must know more of them than now.

Such is LIFE. A flower which bloometh for a little season and then withereth away. Ye young, ye gay, ye proud, are ye so silly as to dream that your earthly life will last for ever? Think of your latter end, and seek that friend, who will be with you in life and in death, even Jesus, the sinner’s Saviour.