Speaking Over Others
Posted on 10/12/2008 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.
TRANSCRIPT: (may not contain everything found in the audio above)
*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***
Public Prayer Requests:
Maggie Barkley's mother had a massive stroke. Pray for continued and complete recovery.
Please turn around and click one of the offering plates by the doors, and give as the Lord leads.
HE HAS MADE ME GLAD
I will enter his gates
I will enter his courts with praise
I will say this is the day
that the Lord hath made
I will rejoice for
He has made me glad
He has made me glad,
He has made me glad
I will rejoice for
he has made me glad!
IT IS YOU
As we lift up our hands
will you meet us here
As we call on your name
will you meet us here
We have come to this place
to worship you
God of mercy and grace
It is you we adore
It is you praises are for
Only you, the heavens declare
It is you, it is you
Holy holy is our God Almighty
Holy holy is his name alone (yeah)
Holy holy is our God Almighty
Holy holy is his name alone
As we lift up our hands
as we call on your name
Will you meet us in this place
by your mercy and grace
HOLY AND ANOINTED ONE
Holy and anointed one, Jesus
Risen and exalted one, Jesus
Your name is like honey
on my lips
Your Spirit like water
to my soul
Your Word is a lamp
unto my feet
Jesus I love you,
I love you
*** listen to the audio for the message introduction ***
Last week's message was titled "Spoken Over You," and today I'd like for us to turn our focus outward to those God has placed in our lives, and in whose lives God has placed us.
And the title of today's message is "Speaking Over Others."
I'm sure by now most of us have taken notice of the things that are going on in the world, especially in the financial market. Governments are socializing the banks, businesses are laying off workers, and stock values are plummeting.
But as we talked about a few weeks ago, now is not the time to worry and panick, nor is it time to keep playing church games or attacking one another. Rather, it's time to get busy, to get serious.
It's also not time to be fearful, and the Scriptures tell us to fear not, and to not let our hearts be troubled.
Last week we talked about that which God has written about us from the beginning, including our gifts, dreams, and callings, and that our fulfilling God's call on our lives does not depend on what others might think or what's going on in the world around us, but upon God's power and our obedience.
And today, as we look around us, as we hear the world leaders talk about creating one world financial system and one world bank, as we hear Muslim leaders talk about one of our presidential candidates as if he were the Messiah, or at least praising him for being led by the Messiah, helping what they call the "Twelfth Imam" rise to power, who is the antiChrist and the beast, as we see all these things taking place, it should bring to mind the many passages of Scripture which foretell of the very last days.
According to their prophecies, here is the description of their "Twelfth Imam" who many of them believe one of our candidates will help bring into power:
- He will return just before the end of the world
- His appearance will be preceded by a number of prophetic events during 3 years of horrendous world chaos, tyranny and oppression
- He will escape from Madina to Mekkah, thousands will pledge allegiance to him
- He will rule over the Arabs and the world for 7 years
- He will eradicate all tyranny and oppression bringing harmony and total peace
- He will lead a prayer in Mekkah in which Jesus will be at his side and follow
Although this is not Bible prophecy, it contains some striking similarities to true prophecies, and I believe this is the same man spoken about in the Bible, and these two who they refer to as "The Twelfth Imam and Jesus" are the antiChrist and the beast in the book of Revelation.
In the Old Testament, in Daniel chapter nine and verse 27 we read, "Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering."
This week, seven days, represents seven years. In the middle of this week, 3-1/2 years, he breaks his peace treaty.
This is echoed in Revelation 13, starting with verse 5:
5 And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months (that's 3-1/2 years).
6 Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven.
7 It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.
8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
It's very interesting to note the perspective from which the two prophecies, that of Islam and that of the Bible, come. The one of Islaam states that he will bring peace for 7 years, while the Bible states that he will PROMISE peace for 7 years but will break his word after 3-1/2. And more specifically, in Revelation, we read that he was given authority to continue for 3-1/2 years.
Who grants power? It is God. The Bible tells us that those who are in power are given their power by God. And while the beast will promise peace for 7 years, his time of peace granted by God will last only 3-1/2 years.
This would make us ponder the source of the two prophetics spirits.
That of Islaam believes he will bring seven years of peace, while that of the Bible states he will promise seven years but will break his promise after 3-1/2.
That of Islaam believes he is a holy man sent by God and will stand beside Jesus, while that of the Bible states he is the incarnation of satan and will stand beside the false prophet.
Now, these are much more than just ancient writings or not-so-ancient prophecies. Rather, these are today's and tomorrow's newspaper clippings brought to us from the past; one from satan, and the other from God.
And the events about which they speak will affect every single one of us.
The rise of the antiChrist and the beast is right on our doorstep. And that means that the rapture of the redeemed could come any day now, any moment. For all we know, some of the avatars in this room could go into "away" mode as the people behind them are no longer sitting behind their computers, but have been caught away to meet the Lord, along with the redeemed who have been laid to rest in the earth.
Are you ready to go? If Jesus were to call from the earth all those whose lamps are filled with oil and who are ready and waiting for his return, would you be left behind?
"Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming."
1 "Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
2 Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
3 Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them,
4 but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
5 But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.
6 "And at midnight a cry was heard: 'Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!'
7 Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps.
8 And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.'
9 But the wise answered, saying, 'No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.'
10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.
11 "Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open to us!'
12 But he answered and said, 'Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.'
13 "Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming."
Now, I've talked about all this to put things in perspective. Today we're going to talk about the things we speak over others. With our words, we can build up and encourage, or we can tear down and destroy.
When Jesus spoke harsh words, calling people white washed tombs and hypocrites, he wasn't talking to those who were following him and seeking to obey his words. Instead, Jesus was addressing those who thought they had all the answers and who thought that Jesus was a false prophet and his followers, being spiritually inferior to themselves, were simply deceived.
How often do some of us in the Body of Christ claim to be righteously indignant like Jesus was, and claim to simply be following his example in judging our brothers and sisters in Christ?
I've had people in ministry positions of other Christian groups accuse me of not even being a true Christian at all because we allow non-believers to voice their opinions without being banned, or because we believe all the gifts of the Spirit are active and alive today.
And I'm not alone by any stretch of the imagination. I've seen and heard about countless attacks on believers and ministries both by Christian groups and by individuals over issues such as these. But who was it in the Bible who did such things? Was it Jesus and those who were acting in ways he approved? Or was it those who, as the Bible says, were straining out gnats and swallowing camels?
Now this isn't to say that we should not warn about false teachers and unBiblical doctrines. I believe we did the right thing by warning about a false revival which called down angels to heal and bring revelation, contrary to the clear teachings of Scripture.
But I'm talking about things that are a matter of interpretation. For example, is Jesus coming before, during, or after the tribulation? Entire denominations have been formed around these three viewpoints. We believe that the rapture will take place before the tribulation. But if you believe we're going through half or all of it, while I may not agree with you, your viewpoint, if based upon a thorough examination of Scripture, is valid, as is your claim to be born again and have a personal relationship with God.
Let's just make certain that our words come from a heart of humility and love, and we are seeking to build one another up and not tear down.
The time is short. We're on the edge of a cliff, overlooking the rise of the incarnation of satan himself, who, as the Muslims say the twelfth imam will do, will bring bloodshed, silencing all voices who would speak against his form of peace.
And in light of that fact, we must look awefully silly at best, blind and foolish, destructive and a hinderance to what God wants us to do, when we speak words that tear down instead of build up, and hurt others instead of encouraging them in the faith.
And if we are speaking against other believers instead of reaching out in love and urgency to those who are about to be left behind in a world void of the Spirit and presence of God, shame on us! We might fit in with those who Jesus said hindered others from coming in and, if we convert anyone, make them twice as bad as ourselves.
I think most of us aren't in that number, and I would like to encourage all of us to examine our motives and our conversations, and make sure our perspectives, our priorities, and the words we speak to others are in line with the gravity of the times and the heart's cry of the Spirit of the Living God.
Now more than ever, we need one another. And now more than ever, we need to get focused and let people know that Jesus is coming very soon, and they need to come to the cross before it's too late.
Ephesians 4:29-32 tells us this:
29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.
30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.
32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
If we are doers of the Word and not hearers only, we should examine our words before they come out of our mouth. "What is my motive? Is this good and necessary for edification? Will it impart grace to those who hear it?"
And if we are kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another even as God in Christ forgave us, then we will see so much drama simply disappear.
James chapter 3, beginning with verse 6 says,
6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.
7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind.
8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God.
10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.
down to verse 13...
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.
14 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth.
15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic.
16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.
17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.
18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
Have you ever struggled with your tongue? If not, it's time to start doing so, for according to this passage, our tongues are a fire, a world of iniquity, defiling the whole body, set on fire by hell, an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
Does that apply to your tongue? Does that apply to mine? I don't see any exceptions here. This doesn't say "some" tongues, or even "most" tongues, but "THE" tongue. And it says that no man can tame it. This requires more than will power; it requires attention on our part as we seek to obey God, empowered by the Holy Spirit as he transforms us from glory to glory into the image of Christ.
The passage goes on to identify the wise and understanding person by how he speaks to others, for meekness is a characteristic of true wisdom. Any so-called wisdom which contains bitterness, envy, or self-seeking is not from above, but is earthly, sensual, and demonic. This type of psuedo-wisdom brings confusion and evil results.
Are you speaking true wisdom? Examine not only what you're saying but how you're saying it.
Is it pure?
Is it peaceable?
Is it gentle?
Is it willing to yeild to others?
Is it full of mercy?
Does it bear good fruit?
Is it free from partiality?
Is it free from any hypocricy?
It may sound holy, and the apparent motivation might be righteousness, but the last words we read of this passage say, "Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace."
So let's examine ourselves. And I want to repeat, let us examine OURSELVES. It would be easy and tempting to start talking about all the people or groups we know who, according to this passage, are not sharing the wisdom that is from above, because it does not line up with this description of Godly wisdom. Instead, it bears the same fruit as psuedo wisdom which is earthly, sensual, and even demonic.
But where would the wisdom be in our words of judgment against others? If we can share the truth in love with them from the motivation of wanting to build them up, that's great. But talking about them isn't going to do anyone any good.
The truth is, NONE of us have it "all together." We all have blind spots. We all have misunderstandings. None of us have everything figured out. And we all need one another to help us see in our blind spots, to offer their insight for things that might be misunderstandings.
And this is the spirit of wisdom, the pure, peaceable, gentle, yielding, mercifull, fruitful, and impartial speach that is from above. Let's speak this way to one another, and ABOUT one another. If you don't have something good to say about someone, move on to another subject.
James chapter 4 verse 1 says,
1 Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?
and verses 11 and 12 say,
11 Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.
12 There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?
So when we have fights, or "drama," it comes from desires for pleasure. Sometimes those desires masquerade as holiness and righteousness, but they are rooted in self-gratification, self-justification, and prideful self-righteousness.
This goes on to say that if we speak evil of a brother, we are not a doer of the law but a judge. And who are we to judge another?
In closing, let's remember the times in which we live. These are indeed the last days. Our time here is drawing to an end. The world is about to be plunged into horrible darkness, void of the restraining presence of God; and we must work while it is still day, spending time reaching out with the urgent message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ instead of vanity, verbal attacks, judging, and talking badly about others.
Let's remember to judge our own selves, holding our speach up against the standard of the Word of God, making certain that whatever we say, it is from a spirit of humility in true meekness, that it is wisdom from above instead of earthly and demonic, that it is pure, peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.
And as we humble ourselves and start interacting with others in this way, the fighting and drama will disappear, and we will stop being hindered by our own ugly fleshly exchanges, and will instead become effective witnesses for Christ.
The ministry team can come to the front now.
This altar is open, and I'd like to invite you to dedicate yourself to speaking only in ways that please God, build up the rest of the body of Christ, and demonstrate true wisdom from above.
*** listen to the audio for the message closing and altar call ***