This week at a staff meeting, I was standing in front of 300 people…
RTC - Don’t cut corners. (Body-builders going into the world)
I acknowledged his work before the group.
The tongue has the power of life and death,
and those who love it will eat its fruit.
Love of words (of life or of death) bears corresponding fruit
Lying, telling truth, intercession for another, gossip, criticism, a loving rebuke, affirmation.
“And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God, but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God.
And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”
3 things involving speech.
1) voicing loyalty for Jesus
2) speaking words against Jesus and the HS
3) Holy Spirit inspired words spoken by the persecuted.
8 “And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God, 9 but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God.
Sounds like Peter standing at the trial of Jesus.
John 18:17, 25-27 The servant girl at the door said to Peter, “You also are not one of this man's disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.”
Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, “You also are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said,
“I am not.” One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” Peter again denied it, and at once a rooster crowed.
“Before men…” (doing before men carries added pressure)
1. Words spoken under pressure reveal the heart
Peter’s heart was still wavering.
Have you ever denied Jesus?
Example: Flagpoles of prayer.
The girl wanted his approval even though he would oppose her no matter what.
“You’ve got to stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything."
“…but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God.”
Did Jesus eventually deny Peter then?
Listen to this:
10 And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven…
Peter was forgiven… he spoke against the Son of Man.
Jesus said this to let him know by what kind of death he would glorify God. Then Jesus told him, “Follow me.”
And Jesus forgave those who spoke against him and crucified him,
“Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
…but what about the second part?
but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
…to blaspheme the Holy Spirit means to reject the gospel, to reject forgiveness and therefore not be forgiven.
i.e. To blaspheme the Holy Spirit is to say boldly, “I will not be forgiven.”
“I willingly believe that the damned are, in one sense, successful, rebels to the end; that the gates of hell are locked on the inside.”
If you are worried that you are blaspheming the Holy Spirit, you’re not.
The heart that’s disturbed by sin is a heart governed by the HS and confesses, renounces, and finds forgiveness.
…and if your heart is disturbed by sin, what then?
The time is short.
So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom.
2. Wisdom re-evaluates its own loyalty
Example: car trip checklist
Prove me, O Lord, and try me; test my heart and my mind.
1. What we want most
2. What we think about most
3. How we use our money
4. What we do with our leisure time
5. The company we enjoy
6. Who and what we admire
7. What we laugh at.
― A. W. Tozer
What’s at stake? Everything.
Shows the condition of the heart.
Desire, Thoughts, Money, Time, Relationships, Admiration, Pleasure.
Counting the cost.
We might incur loss.
3. Authentic re-evaluation commits to change
We don’t check the list without doing anything about it.
Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.
This is a progression for most of us.
What happens when people deny the world and choose Jesus?
4. Progressive change for Jesus brings persecution
In the Beatitudes, this is the last one in the progression.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
poor in spirit, mourners, meek, hungry, merciful, pure, peacemakers…
TO live is Christ, to die is Gain. What’s the opposite?
To live is ______ , to die is LOSS. (X2)
11 And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.
If a person gets to the point of being on trial for the gospel…
Or persecuted for the gospel in a smaller way.
Preparation for that moment happens by loving God.
5. Total loyalty to Jesus stands ready for anything
Example: Grandma Johnson “studying for her final exams”.
How does this work?
“…for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil."
Application: Trying to control our mouth is not the answer.
Why not? It’s changing the outside.
Change the inside (the heart) and the mouth will follow.
Application: Ask Jesus what stands in the way of total commitment to him, and prepare to obey his words.