THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 8-19-01
LESSON TITLE: SOCIALLY ACCEPTED SINS OF TODAY: "SLANDER"
Welcome to the Living Word Program on this wondrous Lord's Day morning. It is always an honor and privilege to have you with us. We are thankful you have chosen to be with us as we commit this time to the things of God.
May we each participate and do our part to make this time acceptable before Him and according to His Word. Now let's begin by talking to God through prayer!
This week we would like to mention another congregation which helps in making the Living Word Program possible. The Hollister Church of Christ in Hollister, Missouri, is a fairly new supporter in this work. We are really happy to have them aboard and we appreciate this fine congregation for their desire to see God's Will carried Out.
Please take advantage of the opportunity this morning to meet with this family of God. Beginning at 9:30 a.m., these brethren will begin with a Bible study and then at 10:30, they will have a morning worship assembly. On Sunday evening at 6:00, they will again come together for a worship service. This congregation also offers a mid-week service at 7:00 each Wednesday evening. I hope you are able to visit with them very soon.
If you have any questions or need further information about this congregation, please feel free to contact me or their minister, brother Charles White. Their telephone number is: 417-334-0673.
This morning we want to begin our songs of praise by singing a song which reminds us of who we are as Christians. So, at this time, won't you join in with the congregation as we sing together, "I Am Thine, O Lord."
(SONG # 1)
Throughout the Old Testament, we see that writers found there, continually acknowledged the wonder and magnificence of our God. How encouraging it is to see their faith, through the things which they proclaimed to the people of their time.
In Deuteronomy 3:24, Moses said the following to Israel, "O Lord GOD, You have begun to show Your servant Your greatness and Your mighty hand, for what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do anything like Your works and Your mighty deeds?" What wondrous words were said here, confirming the great power and glory of our God in Heaven.
Also, read with me from 1 Samuel 2:1-2, there Hannah prayed, "My heart rejoices in the LORD; My horn is exalted in the LORD. I smile at my enemies, Because I rejoice in Your salvation. No one is holy like the LORD, For there is none besides You, Nor is there any rock like our God." This follower of God confirms here that God is our rock and can be counted on in every facet of life.
However, the most wonderful part of these expressions of faith in God is the fact that these individuals understood that true salvation was only found in God. I love the way Jonah put it in Jonah 2:9, there he said, "But I will sacrifice to You With the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD." You see these servants of God were willing to clearly proclaim who there God was, as well as give Him the glory for the salvation which He offered to those who followed His Will!
So, what about today, don't we have an even better covenant through Jesus Christ? That's what the Hebrew writer said in chapter 7, and verse 22 of that book! There we read, "by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant." How blessed we are to know that Jesus has secured our salvation, by making a knew covenant and sealing it with His own blood, Hebrews 9:14-15.
Finally, we read the words of Peter in Acts 4:14, "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." Sound familiar? We also have salvation in God, through His own Son - Jesus Christ. Have you done what is necessary to receive this blessing from God?
We have a special guest speaker with us this morning. My father, Jerry Sullins is here to lead us in our study of the day. Brother Sullins is a long time missionary to Africa, and is presently the director of the Zambia School of Biblical Studies located in Livingstone, Zambia. This good work of our Lord is under the oversight of the Kansas Expressway Church of Christ - the congregation, as you know, who also oversees this great work of God.
This morning, we will continue with our series called, "Socially Accepted Sins Of Today!" Our specific topic today is, "Slander!" So, please continue with us this morning, and after our next song together brother Jerry will return with this study from God's Word. The name of our next hymn is, "My Jesus I Love Thee!"
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Jerry Sullins
It's a pleasure to come into your home this morning to speak to you from the word of God. I'm very excited about the subjects that have been taken the last few weeks on the sins of the flesh in Galatians 5:19-21. Not because it's a joy to talk about them but because we need to be aware of what will cause us to lose our souls. Because in Galatians 5, verse 21 it says, "They who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of heaven."
This morning I would like to speak about a sin that sometimes people don't consider to be a sin. That's a sin that is committed with the tongue. It's the sin of slander.
I want to base our comments upon one of the Psalms, Psalm 64 that was written by David the king. David here in this Psalm was referring to attacks by his enemies. These attacks were not made by weapons, that is like swords or instruments of war, but basically the attacks were being made by the tongues of enemies. So let us look at what David said beginning with verse 1. We'll read verses 1-4. He said, "Hear my voice, Oh God, in my meditation. Preserve my life from fear of the enemy. Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked, from the rebellion of the workers of iniquity who sharpen their tongue like a sword and bend their bows to shoot their arrows. Bitter words that they may shoot in secret at the blameless, suddenly they shoot at him and do not fear."
People do not understand that what they say does really count. It means something. And people can use the tongue which is an instrument that doesn't cause them anything to do probably greater damage than can be done sometimes with a sword, because the tongue in this case is used to slander someone's character, the defamation of character, which is really punishable as an offense by law even in our own country. But certainly punishable as far as God is concerned. Many of David's enemies were involved in a slander campaign. In fact in verse 2, they are called "evil-doers".
Now David believed God would deliver him and judge those evil-doers and so this morning we want to look at this passage of scripture here in Psalm 64 and just look and see what happens when someone uses their tongue and doesn't use it properly. "The evil tongue," as it's stated in verses 1-4, "brings pain." Certainly when someone's character is slandered, it brings pain. David was in fear. He was actually in terror. These points that we see in verses 1-4 point out that these people who were slandering David's character were holding secret meetings. They were causing others to distrust David because of the lies that they were telling. They were holding these meetings and hiding places. They were laying snares for David, trying to say things that might trick him, so that they could deceive him and maybe tell further lies of his character. They were doing their work without fear of God or man. So many times I know that even in our society today you probably can even remember in the place where you work, maybe the church where you attend, that there are people who seem to take their responsibility in what they might refer to even as God's word, and using their tongue to slander other people's character. This is sin and this is wrong.
Now verses 5-6 show us that this type of slander that is used by the tongue implies that a person's heart is not right. In fact, a person's heart is evil. Let's look at verses 5 and 6. "They encourage themselves in an evil matter. They talk of laying snares secretly. They say, 'Who will see them?' They devise iniquities. We have perfected a shrewd scheme" is what they are saying. "Both the inward thought and the heart of man are deep."
Now what we see here is that behind this evil speaking was evil planning. Now make no mistake about it. When people say things that are wrong, they have planned it in their heart to say those things that are wrong. It just doesn't operate on its own power, that is the tongue. But something motivates the tongue to say what it is saying. And we see as far as David's enemies were concerned they thought, "Well no one will see us doing this." But yet someone does see us and someone does hear us when we slander someone else's character. Someone who is standing close by or maybe the person who is receiving the slander sees you and hears you, but there's one who sees you and hears you no matter whoever may see you or who may not see you or may not hear you, or may hear you, and that is God Himself. A person who does this sometimes says, "Well," someone may say about this person, "Well, they are not very well educated." Well educated, non-educated people, no matter what the person may have that is talents or no talents, the person is responsible for what he or she might say, and when someone slanders another person's character it's wrong in the sight of God.
Now Jesus said in Matthew 12 verse 34 that "the source of this type of speech," that is slander, "must come out of the heart, for He says, 'for out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh." So why does someone speak something that is wrong? It's simply because that person is thinking that evil thing within his or her heart.
Now what will happen to those people who speak evil things? Well this Psalm also covers that type of person. Let's read in verses 7-10. "But God shall shoot at them with an arrow. Suddenly they shall be wounded. So He will make them stumble over their own tongue. All who see them shall flee away. All men shall fear and shall declare the work of God for they shall wisely consider His doing. The righteous shall be glad in the Lord and trust in Him and all the upright in heart shall glory. Now the evil tongue that speaks forth slander, that person who uses that evil tongue to speak slander against someone else, as David says here, will be judged."
Do we not understand that every wicked thing that man says he will have to give account of it? The Bible specifically says that throughout not only the Old Testament, but certainly throughout the New Testament. God will bring justice to every wicked person. There is no doubt about that, but others will also observe the wickedness of others when they see them speak slander against someone else. No one likes to witness that. And it is our responsibility when we see someone speaking evil of someone else, as Paul said in the book of Galatians chapter 6, "that we should go to that person in the spirit of meekness and in love and try our best to show that person where they are speaking evil of someone else and bring them back to God." Because it's a sin before God and it's a sin before men. When the evil is judged, we will rejoice as David did. We will rejoice because God has delivered us. God's righteousness has been upheld.
I would like for us to go to a series of verses that's found in James chapter 3 that are commonly used in speaking of the tongue and the evils of the tongue. And I'd like for us to read that together this morning. We're going to begin at verse 1 and we'll read through verse 10 because that certainly applies to our message this morning. James said, "My brethren, let not many of you become teachers knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment for we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man able also to bridle the whole body." Now here is the emphasis placed on what the man speaks by word. Verse 3, "Indeed we put bits in horses mouths that they may obey us and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by very small rudders wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles. 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, for every kind of beast and bird of reptile and creature of the sea is tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it, we bless our God and Father and with it we curse men who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceeds blessing and cursing." My brethren these things ought not to be so. Here James so well exemplifies and gives example of what the tongue can do, and how it guides our whole body as a rudder guides a ship, it is able to control us and we need to make sure that we have the rudder, that is the tongue, under control so that we're doing properly before God. It's a little member. It's a fire that can set on a whole forest, that is to kindle a whole forest, and so we need to be careful how we use that tongue. Every creature of the sea and every reptile can be tamed, but not the tongue. It is full of what? Deadly poison. And that poison is what we've been referring to this morning is the poison of slander.
We need to be very careful as to what we say with our tongues because with our tongues we can damage the character of other people. Some people might say in this life, "Well if I say something that is wrong, am I going to be held accountable for it?" Well certainly the scripture makes that very clear as we turn to Matthew chapter 12, verse 37. Jesus said, "By your words, you shall be justified and by your words, you shall be condemned." The scripture over and over again points out and emphasizes that what we speak in word or deed, we're going to have to give account for it. So let us make sure that what we say is said with great care because when we slander someone's character then we can know for sure that we will be held accountable for that person's character.
Yes, the tongue is the cheapest and most powerful weapon that we have in our bodies and we can use it to injure other people or we can use it to bless other people. It cost nothing for us to use it. It does more damage than any other instrument of pain that has ever been devised and so we need to make sure that we use it in a proper manner. When David wrote this Psalm he was under attack by those who did not like him and it is possible for us to not like people but it doesn't mean we have to slander them. It doesn't mean that we have to misuse and abuse them with our tongue but yet we need to make sure that we keep our tongue in perfect control. So what should we do in this life? We ought to be careful that we use our bodies in every way we can for the glory of God and especially to use our tongue in praising God through what we say and what we do.
I'm reminded of what Jesus said on many occasions concerning how important it is for us to say what we need to say and say it properly. "Let your yeah be yeah, and let your nay be nay." We ought to as Paul said in Colossians chapter 3 that we ought to always speak in such a way that our speech is seasoned with salt, that is with the grace of God rendering unmerited favor even to those that we speak of. And so let us make sure that what we say is said as God would have us say it because with our words we certainly can be condemned or with our words we will be justified.
May the Lord bless you as you receive His word.
(SONG # 3 - "Living By Faith!")
Again, let me thank you for choosing to be with us this morning. I hope we all have been encouraged through our time spent together. Please remember, you are invited to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God.
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May we all take more time to consider what we do and say towards others, so that everything we do may be acceptable in His sight!