Posts Tagged Ephesians 5: 19

Lip Tripping

2 Timothy 3: 1 – 3

But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips.

Well, this verse alone ought to convince us we are in the last days. Paul warned us that difficult times would come. What is interesting is that, for the most part, the behaviors listed in these verses are not even reviled in our modern culture. For the most part, all of these, previously detestable, acts are accepted. These truths strike grief in the heart.

Worry not, however. God is in the business of transforming hearts. He remakes us into the beautiful creatures of design. The world has stained and molded us but God, through Jesus, has restored us to His glory. Wherever sin and evil abound, God’s grace does so even more (Romans 5: 20).

Obviously, this is a list of behaviors that are abhorrent to God. These are signs that we are falling into destruction, signs of decay. It is worth a moment to re-read the list and ponder the deeds which God has highlighted as signs of our downfall. Each is a lesson in itself but I want to focus on one in particular because most of us fall into this trap and must be reminded that God finds this habit repulsive.

Gossip makes God’s list of reprehensible acts, acts that are indicative of the decadent and fallen state of humanity. The concern that challenges me most is that I am just as guilty in this regard as any unsaved heathen in the world. Really, how many Christians fall into the trap of gossiping? The answer is sure to alarm us. The truth is, though none wants to say, and no one wants to hear it, gossip is a sin.

How would you define gossip? We normally think of it as talking about a third person in a way that is not edifying to them, although gossip doesn’t edify us either. The Jews have a clear perspective, one that informs my thinking. They teach the doctrine of Loshon Hora. In a general sense it means malignant or derogatory speech about another. Paying close attention to this description, it becomes clear that the speech can be true and yet still be prohibited. It is speech which, even if true, tends to cause harm or potential harm to the person about whom the speech refers. In other words, gossip.

In this I will say, as Paul once did, I am chief among sinners. I know, however, that I am not alone. This is a good time to remind ourselves that talking about others is detrimental to ourselves and harmful to the reputations of others. We should, in the least, be concerned about the stain we leave on our own spirits by spewing vileness from our lips.

The cure is simple. Just don’t tell tales about others. Don’t talk about others. If we take advice from the Word, we would practice “speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord,” (Ephesians 5: 19). We should talk about the Lord and glorify His name rather than run down the name of others. Do it for yourself. Edify yourself by speaking holy words rather than gossip. It is important for your sake.

If you really wish to edify yourself, look up the doctrine of loshon hora, Google it. You will be surprised. Some describe it as evil speech and claim it to be even worse than murder, immorality or idolatry. Also, for a brief discussion, see my book Journey Through the Bible, chapter 64 (this book may be purchased at: https://iveyministries.org/product/journey-through-the-bible/.)

Breaking Bread

Hebrews 10: 25

Not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.

Many people take this verse to mean that we should attend church. Okay, that is a fair reading but I see so much more in here. This verse has always spoken to me equally, if not more so, in the context of personal relationships. Some of the best church I have every attended has been around a dinner table at a restaurant.

Implied here is that our assemblage has spiritual purpose. There is a verse which comes to mind. It is Ephesians 5: 19 which encourages “speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord.” Taken together, these two verses paint an image of people gathering socially but where the Word of the Lord is central to the get together.
You will have noticed that part of the purpose in gathering together is for encouraging one another. It isn’t about just having a beer with your friends. The real power of social gathering as well as church gatherings is to be an encouragement to each other. What brings more encouragement and hope than God’s Word? That is why speaking to one another in spiritual songs, psalms, etc. is prescriptive. Any word from God or about Jesus infuses hope. There is joy in our thoughts and words about the Lord. He instills within us the belief that all challenges are overcome in him. Problems melt away in his presence. Therefore, when you get together with your friends and the joy of the Lord is present, their burdens lose their weight.

No one is without problems. Jesus told us that in this world there is trouble. However, when we gather in the presence of the Lord, even if that is over a meal at a restaurant, those momentary troubles become less significant. Friends are important but Christian friends are a blessing from God. So the next time you gather to break bread with your friends, remember Jesus. Share his goodness at the table. It is good for your digestion, good for your soul and good for your friends.