Word Power

by

Word Power

 

PORTION OF SCRIPTURE READ BEFORE SERMON:

Matthew 15:1-20

 

 

PRELUDE

Before I begin, I must say that by saying these very words, I place myself at the very far end of heaven, not so close to the throne, but closer to the gate. For these words are as much a challenge to me as I pray they will be to you. However, if my life has not been changed by the Words I have studied and now proclaim, then I must be labeled, at best, a hypocrite, or, at worst, a liar. Therefore I stand before you, not as one judging, but as one judged. May God find me innocent on that day. May He find you innocent as well.

 

 

INTRO

There is a group who call themselves Christian, yet they deny some fundamental aspects of the Christian faith. The “Word Faith” movement’s theology can be at once at heretical and ridiculous. The main focus of their false Christianity is that we can use our words to cause changes in the world. As a knee jerk reaction much of true, main-line Christianity has forsaken the concept of the power of our words. Rather than allow this to happen, I feel I must, for God’s glory, explain the true meaning of and true power of our words. This text from Matthew speaks much of the contrast between outward displays of religiosity and inward affections toward the Divine. Further, it speaks of our words and what they must mean as a sign and symptom of our heart condition.

 

 

GRAMMATICAL/HISTORICAL INFO

Hand washing in Mt 15:2

 

A large cup is filled with water and poured three times over first the right hand, then the left. After this is done one prays:

 

HEBREW: “Barukh attah Adonai eloheinu melekh ha’olam, asher kiddeshanu bemitsvotav vetzivanu ‘al netilat yadayim.”

ENGISH: “Blessed art thou, Lord our God, Master of the universe, who hast sanctified us with thy commandments and commanded us about washing the hands.”

This is only tradition and ceremony and not mentioned in Holy Scripture.

 

Jesus makes it quite clear that outward expressions of holiness are meaningless when what’s inside one’s heart will be made quite clear by what comes out of one’s mouth.

 

Pro 18:21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

 

 

WORDS THAT BRING DEATH

It is worthy of note that all these do overlap in many ways.

 

 

NAME CALLING

Mt 5:22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.

 

1 Jn 2:9-11 Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.

 

1 Peter 2:1 Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.

 

 

LIES

Ac 5:1-11 Ananias and Sapphira

 

Pro 12:22 (NASB) – Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, But those who deal faithfully are His delight.

 

Rev 21:8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

 

(Gossip)

Lev 19:16 Do not go about spreading slander among your people.

 

2 Thess 3:11-12 (NASB) For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread.

 

 

MURMURING/COMPLAINING (INGRATITUDE)

Nu 14:26-37 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron: “How long will this wicked community grumble against me? I have heard the complaints of these grumbling Israelites. So tell them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the LORD, I will do to you the very things I heard you say: In this desert your bodies will fall—every one of you twenty years old or more who was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me. Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. As for your children that you said would be taken as plunder, I will bring them in to enjoy the land you have rejected. But you—your bodies will fall in this desert. Your children will be shepherds here for forty years, suffering for your unfaithfulness, until the last of your bodies lies in the desert. For forty years—one year for each of the forty days you explored the land—you will suffer for your sins and know what it is like to have me against you.’ I, the LORD, have spoken, and I will surely do these things to this whole wicked community, which has banded together against me. They will meet their end in this desert; here they will die.”

So the men Moses had sent to explore the land, who returned and made the whole community grumble against him by spreading a bad report about it- these men responsible for spreading the bad report about the land were struck down and died of a plague before the LORD.

 

Num 20:2-13 Now there was no water for the community, and the people gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron. They quarreled with Moses and said, “If only we had died when our brothers fell dead before the LORD! Why did you bring the LORD’s community into this desert, that we and our livestock should die here? Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates. And there is no water to drink!”

Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance to the Tent of Meeting and fell facedown, and the glory of the LORD appeared to them. The LORD said to Moses, “Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.”

    So Moses took the staff from the LORD’s presence, just as he commanded him. He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.

But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.”

These were the waters of Meribah, where the Israelites quarreled with the LORD and where he showed himself holy among them.

 

Murmuring and complaining says, “YHWH, I know how to run my life better than you! You created this universe but I can control it. I know what’s best for me.” What a lump of unholy, deviant pride that must take! What if the Israelites had their way and God let them go back to Egypt?

 

Dt 28:47-48 Because you did not serve the LORD your God joyfully and gladly in the time of prosperity, therefore in hunger and thirst, in nakedness and dire poverty, you will serve the enemies the LORD sends against you. He will put an iron yoke on your neck until he has destroyed you.

 

6,307,200 – 9,460,800 breaths a year (low average of 12rpm to high average of 18rpm). How many times have you said thank you to God for using his air?

 

 

OBSCENITY/VULGARITY

Eph 5:3-5 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk* or coarse joking**, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

*Morologia (mō-ro-lo-gē’-ä) = foolish (strong connotations of “Godless, impious”) talking

** Eutrapelia (yü-trä-pe-lē’-ä) = wit, turning of phrase

 

Col 3:8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.

 

 

BLASPHEMY

Ex 20:7 (KJV) Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

 

Lev 24:10-16 Now the son of an Israelite mother and an Egyptian father went out among the Israelites, and a fight broke out in the camp between him and an Israelite. The son of the Israelite woman blasphemed the Name with a curse; so they brought him to Moses. (His mother’s name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri the Danite.) They put him in custody until the will of the LORD should be made clear to them.

Then the LORD said to Moses: “Take the blasphemer outside the camp. All those who heard him are to lay their hands on his head, and the entire assembly is to stone him. Say to the Israelites: ‘If anyone curses his God, he will be held responsible; anyone who blasphemes the name of the LORD must be put to death. The entire assembly must stone him. Whether an alien or native-born, when he blasphemes the Name, he must be put to death.

 

If you use the name of God as a common curse word, you are at root a profane person. You have no respect for the holiness of Gd. And I urge you to think before you let that word pass over your lips again in a frivolous manner. Because God will not tolerate the desecration of His name. – R. C. Sproul, “The Holiness of God”

 

Instead of using our mouths to speak forth the saving gospel of Christ, we use it to spew forth vile perversions, hatreds, blasphemies, and vulgarities. Oh, and on Sunday we sing praise and worship. What could be more hypocritical?

 

There is little doubt in my mind that there are people here who at one time or another have looked at pornography. If I may be so bold I shall give you the reason you do. You find a computer screen more beautiful, more magnificent, and more worthy of your time, mental energy, and physical energy, than you do the thrice holy God of scripture. Now to extend that into our point of discussion. Why do we let vulgarities and idle babble come from our mouths? Because we hold in higher esteem the temporary things of this world, the acceptance of our peers, and cultural relevance over the power of the Gospel which has the power to bring life.

 

 

WORDS THAT BRING LIFE

Just as the Words of Death had much overlap or where one led to another, so to the words that bring life fit together.

 

 

ENCOURAGEMENT

Heb 10:25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage* one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
*parakaleo To call along side. I recall my trip to Zion recently as Richard and Luis were along side me, if not verbally, but by their BEING THERE provided encouragement for me to glorify God by reaching the top of Angel’s Landing.

 

1 Thess 2:10-12 You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.

 

Not mere self-esteem, but a cheer to press on to the goal!

 

 

HYMNS/PSALMS/SPIRITUAL SONGS

Eph 5:19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord,….

 

Not meant to be a triparted view of worship music. But a style of life.

 

Ro 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.

 

Also related to encouragement. As brothers and sisters come along side one another and place their focus upon the thrice Holy YHWH, the same will be present (For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them. Mt 18:20) and occasionally, in accordance with His will, miracles can happen!

 

Acts 16:25-30 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”

The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

 

Psalm 71:23 My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you— I, whom you have redeemed.

 

 

PRAISE

1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

 

Psalm 119:75 Let me live that I may praise you, and may your laws sustain me.

 

 

THANKSGIVING

Heb 13:5 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name.

 

Eph 5:4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking*, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving**.

*Eutrapelia (yü-trä-pe-lē’-ä) = wit, turning of phrase

**eucharistia (yü-khä-rē-stē’-ä) = thanksgiving

 

1 Thess 5:18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

 

 

CONCLUSION

Now it may seem I have missed the point of this passage, but I am not done yet. Finally, brothers, Christ tells these Pharisees that their outward shows of religiosity are worthless. No amount of hand washing will clean the dead soul. So too you may cease to lie, blaspheme, name-call, and murmur yet inwardly you are dead and putrid. If that be so then your clean mouth is as admirable as a hill of used diapers! Your heart must be changed!! O that these foolish words would some how be used by the Holy Spirit to move your heart is that you would call out to the Lord in repentance so you would be saved by His grace through faith. What, then, is in your heart? You now know what comes from our mouths is rooted in our heart condition. On the table before you are some stones. If you can honestly say you are without any sin in this area, then you are free to throw this stone. If you have seen that there is still some area of hardness in your heart in this area (or even in others) then take this stone as a reminder to pray that God would fulfill his promise in Ezekiel 11:19 “I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.”

 

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