Encouraging Words

The Christian’s language must be godly and reflect a heart consecrated for God.  Paul commanded the Ephesians to let no corrupt communication proceed from their mouths but rather words of edification and grace, Ephesians 4:29.  He wrote the Colossians to walk wisely around worldly people and to speak gracefully and thoughtfully, Colossians 4:6.  He told Titus to encourage the young men to have sound speech that could not be condemned, Titus 2:8.

Our words must encourage and edify all men, especially our brethren.  Our speech must be graceful, or beautiful.  We must speak words of kindness.  When we must speak tough words, such as words of rebuke, we must still speak with grace and love, Ephesians 4:15.

Our words can comfort the downhearted, 1 Thessalonians 5:14. Too many brethren suffer without a word of exhortation from loving brethren. We pray for these individuals but we should also call or send a card to show our concern. Since we have been comforted by God, we should comfort others, 2 Corinthians 1:4. 

Christians must always be ready always to give a defense of our faith, with a meek and fearful spirit, 1 Peter 3:15.  Proverbs 15:28: “The heart of the righteous studies how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil.”  Christians must study the word to prepare a scriptural defense of his belief.  A foolish person, on the other hand, will answer “my church believes…,” or “my preacher says…,” or “I think…” We cannot answer the world in its folly.  We must know why we believe what we believe and be able to defend it with scripture.  When we do this, we will take our tongue, that unruly evil, and use it for good.

Filthy Language

Christians must put away sinful speech that characterizes the world.  A distinguishing characteristic that may identify us as Christians is pure speech.  The Bible condemns bad language that is not fitting for saints in Ephesians 5:4.

  • Filthiness:  Can be described as obscenity. Opposite of  purity.  Something shameful and dirty.
  • Foolish talking:  Silly talking. Vine’s defines it as dull, foolish and stupid talking.  Trench describes it as the “talk of fools.”  McKnight describes it as language in which one’s neighbor is rendered ridiculous and contemptible, buffoonery.
  • Filthy language (KVJ -coarse jesting):  Obscene or dirty jokes and filthy innuendo.  It is language that is twisted to mean filthy things.

Paul wrote that filthy language is not proper for Christians.  Some make the life of Christ appear foolish by their humor and their speech.  Imagine one who uses filthy language most days then invites someone to a gospel meeting or condemns some false practice using the scriptures.  Filthy language so pollutes the reputation of a person so that even his good speech is tainted.

Peter provides us a clear example of the worldly example of filthy language.  During Jesus’ trial, Peter was in a courtyard with the crowd that arrested Jesus.  Several people recognized Peter and knew that he had been with Jesus.  Peter denied the charge vehemently. After further accusations, he began to curse and swear to prove that he had not been with Jesus, Matthew 26:73-74.  If we curse and swear, what does it say about our relationship to Jesus?

OMG: Does Not Mean “O Majestic God”

Guest Post from Edwin Crozier (www.edwincrozier.com – great site to visit)

I need to share a concern with my fellow Christian Facebookers, MySpacers, Pleonasters, Twitterers, texters and other social media types. “OMG!” doesn’t mean “O Majestic God” or “O Magnificent God.” It is not a means by which God is honored. It doesn’t even mean “oh my goodness.” When people read that, they see and hear in their minds the phrase, “Oh my God.”

Please recall that under the Old Covenant one of God’s 10 laws was, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain” (Exodus 20:7). God’s name was to be held in honor or God would curse His people (Malachi 2:2).

The New Covenant demonstrates the same principle of honor for God. I Timothy 1:17 says, “To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” Revelation 4:11 says, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” In Revelation 7:12, the angels, elders and living creatures cried out, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

I’m seeing a trend that concerns me among Christians online. More frequently I see Christians use texting shorthand for taking God’s name in vain—“OMG.” I just want to ask you to think before you type that shorthand on your computer. If you typed the longhand phrase, “Oh my God,” would it be appropriate? Would you think this use of God’s name was intended to honor Him, to give Him glory and praise?

Certainly there are times when saying “Oh my God” is appropriate. We have songs that use that phrase. As we pray, we may praise God by calling out to Him, “Oh my God.” We are recognizing that He is our God; we are not. We are recognizing that He is our God; money is not. We are recognizing that He is our God; idols are not.

However, when someone has said something surprising or said something that really resonates with us and we want to accentuate it simply by typing, “OMG! That’s amazing,” are we really calling on God, honoring Him? Were we even addressing Him? Or were we just taking His name in vain because it was so easy and every one else does it?

God’s name is not meant to register our surprise, our shock, our amazement. God’s name is meant to be held in honor, to bring glory to Him, to address Him.

Please think about this before you type your next update. Let’s honor God in our speech and our online posts. He deserves it.

The Power of a Good Example

The Bible clearly teaches that we will be judged by our actions. Revelation 20:12 tells of judgment where “…I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.” The books (Old Testament and New Testament) reveal the standard of what we must do in order to please Him (2 Timothy 2:15; 2 Peter 1:3). Paul clearly links our actions to eternal punishment or reward (Romans 2:6-11 – note the variations of “do” and its direct relationship to the results). Jesus says that we will even be called into judgment for every careless word (Matthew 12:36). What we do and say impacts our eternal life.

Our actions also enrich our earthly life and the lives of others. I think the scripture makes it clear that God does not want us to live holy lives to prepare for a grand accounting, but rather to share in His holiness and to be like His righteous Son. Jesus lived the life of a servant and had a tremendous impact on the lives of those He touched. When we live like Him, we will make our world a better place.

When you are young your example can influence young and old. Young people who stand against the filthy and impure activities common with “sins of youth” may embolden other young people to make the tough decision to life holy in an ungodly world (Titus 2:11-14). Their righteousness encourages older Christians who are distressed with the wickedness they see in so many youth. Young people living active Christian lives make choices they can be proud of throughout their lives. I have talked with so many people who lived with much shame and regret for time spent in youthful lusts and opportunities to serve God that were squandered so they could wallow in the mud.

I hope you are choosing such a life. Your Creator knows what is best for you and wants you to enjoy your youth and if you follow His commands you truly will.

Does Your Facebook Activity Betray You?

Guest post by Aaron Beard

 It was a highly pressurized situation.  Jesus had been arrested on the way out of the Garden of Gethsemane and was in the process of going through one of a series “kangaroo court” hearings.  He had been mocked, spit upon, and struck with a staff on his head while wearing a crown of thorns.  During the last of these illegal hearings held by the Jewish leaders, Peter was standing outside in the courtyard.  He was there warming himself at the fire andwas surrounded by a group of people who were hostile to Jesus.  At that moment, people started asking Peter questions about whether or not he was one of Jesus’ disciples.   He likely assumed if he was identified as afollower of Jesus that he too would be arrested, beaten, or even killed.  At first Peter politely denies his association.  Then Peter gets even more adamant in his denial of his relationship with Jesus. At this point Matthew records these words:   “After a little while the bystanders came upand said to Peter, ‘Certainly you too are one of them, for your accent betrays you'” (Matthew 26:73).   Sadly, Peter begins to curse and swear saying that he did not know Jesus.  Perhaps Peter began to curse and swear because he was angry and afraid.  Perhaps it was an added effort to cover up the fact that he really was one of the disciples ofJesus.  Peter did tried to cover up who he was, but he could not hide the truth forever.  Eventually it was his speech that gave him away.

 Does Peter’s behavior during the trials of Jesus shock you?  Perhaps it should, but considering the behavior of those who profess to follow Christ today, the less surprising his actions are.  When around the world, it is not uncommon for Christians to either hide their faith or to behave in such a way that their actions betray them.   One place where such contradictory behavior and speech is common is the internet networking blog called Facebook.  Facebook can be a usefultool to glorify the Lord and spiritual things. This is very refreshing, especially with the sinful garbage that dominates the internet.  But sadly, the Facebook activity of some who are supposed to be Christians does more to glorify sin and this world.  Some profess to be Christians, while their Facebook activity tells a much different story.  Whether we realize it or not, what we do on Facebook speaks volumes about us.   When you look at a person’s profile, pictures, updates, and comments you learn much about their life – their family, job, hobbies, dislikes, food preferences, daily activities, goals, dreams, relationships, and so much more.  So if a person is trying to please God, would that also not be evident in the things they do on Facebook?   It must be! Paul writes, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.  For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:1-4).   If this is true of us, Jesus will permeate all aspects of our life.  This would certainly include what we do on Facebook.

 Consider some ways people who profess to follow Christ can be betrayed by their Facebook activity.   Some will post pictures of themselves and others in clothing that is immodest.  Personally speaking, I have been saddened and even sickened by having to see way too much of some of my friends who are supposed to be Christians.  Our clothing should be consistent with that of a person confessing godliness with good works (1 Timothy 2:10).  Based on some people’s pictures on Facebook, they are certainly professing something but it sure isn’t godliness!   Occasionally you will find posts to links forvideos that are unrighteous in nature. Many times the video is supposed to be funny, but its humor comes from sinful behavior or speech.  Have we forgotten the admonition, “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good” (Romans 12:9)?  It is also fairly common to see people using language that is ungodly.  Sometimes it is suggestive words about a person’s picture, sometimes it is a vulgar joke,and sometimes it is the use of profanity or euphemisms.  Perhaps one wouldn’t dare type a curse word or take God’s name in vain, but they will use abbreviations like “omg” and evenworse without a second thought.  Paul writes, “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving” (Ephesians 5:4).  There are some who would not do any of these things, but they show their approval of those who do.  On Facebook you can leave comments under people’s posts and pictures as well as clicking that you “like” something posted.   Perhaps what we really need is a “dislike” option!  Remember how Peter’s speech betrayed him, making it impossible to hide that he was really one of Jesus’ disciples?   Christians need to carefully consider if their Facebook activity betrays their confession of faith and fellowship with Jesus.

 This Facebook problem is a reflection of the problem of conforming to the world. Romans 12:1 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”  It is a great struggle to live in the world while still living above the world, but this is our duty and our goal.