"All material is written by
Joe R. Price, unless otherwise
"And take...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17)
In this issue:
Some Things to Notice
The apostles were acquainted with slander (1 Cor. 4:12). For example, the truth of the gospel proclaimed by Paul was not only opposed by false brethren, he himself was made the target of their misrepresentations (Gal. 2:4-5). When the truth he preached could not be refuted successfully, slanderous reports were circulated against the messenger in an effort to discredit both him and his message (Rom. 3:5-8; 2 Cor. 10:1-2, 7-11; 11:26; Phil. 1:15-18). Nevertheless, Paul rejoiced through it all because Christ was preached. Oh, what faith! Consider some of the traits of slander that are faced by all who stand for and live in the truth of the gospel:
Have you noticed that slander is not concerned with truth above all else? The slanderer purports to value truth; but in reality he has little use for it. (Truth would get in the way of his false accusations!) Like the devil, the false accuser can be presented with the truth of a matter a hundred times over and still continue his distortions. Why? Because such a person is not motivated by a love that “does not seek its own” and “is not provoked.” His heart and words are not shaped and molded by a love that “does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth” (1 Cor. 13:5-6). Driven by malice and entrenched in pride, slander pours out of an embittered heart that is more concerned with self-justification than with judging righteous judgment. If we are to guard ourselves from these sins we must be careful to suffer long and be kind, loving truth instead of self (1 Cor. 13:4). Slander is defeated by getting all the facts before answering a matter (Prov. 18:13).
Have you noticed that slander is not concerned with correcting itself when shown to be wrong? There is no humility in slander. The slanderer shares in the prideful condemnation of the devil (1 Tim. 3:6). Too proud to admit the error of one’s malicious falsehoods, the slanderer plunges headlong into more and more evil. Unless we humble ourselves before God and one another, Satan’s deceptive lies will corrupt and destroy us (Jas. 4:6-7).
Have you noticed that slander is not concerned with being kind in its treatment of others? Instead of thinking the best of others, its evil suspicions spew out charges and countercharges. The devil’s design in such conduct is to discredit and defame the innocent – not to establish truth so that the lost can be saved and the saved can be strengthened (1 Tim. 6:3-5). Until we commit ourselves to Jesus’ teaching to treat others as we wish to be treated, we open our hearts to the devil and give him a place to stand. Our tongues will fan the flames of suspicion, doubt and division, and the body of Christ will be devoured (Matt. 7:12; Gal. 5:13-15). This is the devil’s desire.
Have you noticed that slander condemns the innocent and justifies the guilty? If not, then please recall the trials and crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ: “Who committed no sin, nor was deceit in His mouth; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously” (1 Pet. 2:22-23).
Have you noticed the cowardly nature of slander? It is much easier to slander a person over the telephone than to do so face to face. The false accuser does not want to face the one he accuses; that would expose his sin. Like the Amalekites of old, the slanderer lurks behind the rocks and in the shadows, looking for his opportunity to strike the tired and weary (Deut. 25:17-18). Those who “stand fast in the faith” are not given to such a spirit of fear. Instead, their “genuine faith” blesses them with a spirit “of power, and of love and of a sound mind” (1 Cor. 16:13; 2 Tim. 1:5, 7). False accusation and slander have no place in God’s mighty arsenal of weapons in the battle against sin and error (2 Cor. 10:3-6).
Knowing the Difference
Men often make distinctions where God does not reveal a difference. For instance, men make legal distinctions between what is slander – “oral defamation, in which someone tells one or more persons an untruth about another, which untruth will harm the reputation of the person defamed” – and what is libel – “to publish in print (including pictures), writing or broadcast through radio, television or film, an untruth about another which will do harm to that person or his/her reputation, by tending to bring the target into ridicule, hatred, scorn or contempt of others” (The People’s Law Dictionary, Gerald and Kathleen Hill, www.law.com). God calls all such treatment of one’s neighbor, sin.
God expects His people to “judge what is right” and to know the difference between what slander is and what it is not (Lk. 12:57). For instance, we must judge that:
Reproving and rebuking error is not slander (2 Tim. 4:2-4). The Holy Spirit revealed “all truth” in order to convict sinners of their sin and save them by the power of truth (Jno. 16:8-13). Peter did not slander those on Pentecost when he used that truth to charge them with crucifying the Lord and Christ; the evidence of their sin was abundant and systematically presented by the inspired apostle (Acts 2:36, 14-35, 40). We do not slander sinners when we use the word of God to reprove and rebuke sin.
Disciplining the sinner in his sin is not slander (1 Cor. 5). The public identification of an unrepentant Christian (once the presence of and persistence in sin is clearly established), is designed to discipline and save the erring child of God; it is not a slanderous, vindictive action (vs. 1-5). Some churches have been sued by ungodly men and women because the church publicly identified the sinner and the sin as they applied corrective discipline; other churches have been made afraid to do so lest they be taken to court. Unquestionably, all diligence and good judgment must be used in such cases, but let it be clearly understood that scripturally practicing corrective discipline does not display malice toward the sinner – it shows divine love (cf. Heb. 12:5-11; 2 Cor. 2:6-9). Are the “spiritual” to be charged with evil suspicions and slanderous conduct when they identify a Christian who is “overtaken in a trespass” and try to restore the fallen one (Gal. 6:1)? Sons of the devil will falsely charge slander, and by the charge show themselves of the world and not of God (1 Jno. 4:5-6).
(To be continued)
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Colossians 2:18-23
human sources of authority in spiritual matters are deficient (Matt. 21:25),
Col. 2:8, 18-23.
I. IT WORKS: The end justifies the means. Rom. 3:5-8; 10:1-3; 1 Sam. 15.
II. TRADITION: It has been practiced for so long. Mk. 7:1-13.
III. THE SILENCE OF THE BIBLE: The Bible doesn’t say not to. 2 Jno. 9 (Deut. 29:29); Heb. 7:12-14 (Num. 3:10).
IV. NUMBERS: Surely so many people cannot be wrong. Matt. 7:13-14; Gen. 6:5-6; Num. 14:28-30.
V. LITTLE THINGS: Those issues are not important; and/or, if I do some important things right, these other things won’t matter. Jno. 12:42-43; Acts 5:1-4; Ezek. 18:21-24.
VI. KEEPING UP WITH THE JONES’S: They are doing it and so can we. 1 Sam. 8:4-7, 19-20.
VII. EMOTIONS: It makes you feel good, so it must be right. Heb. 11:25 (Jas. 4:3); Prov. 14:12.
LOSING TOUCH WITH REALITY: I’d rather do it wrong than do
2 Tim. 2:5
Conclusion: Every human source of authority puts greater value on man’s thoughts, desires, emotions, etc., than on what God says. NT is our authority.
Says No Homosexual Ordination
The Roman Catholic Church officially distinguishes between homosexual tendencies and practices: “A distinction must be made between a tendency that can be innate and acts of homosexuality that “are intrinsically disordered” and contrary to Natural Law” (“The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality,” Pontifical Council for the Family Guidelines for Education Within the Family, November 21, 1995, newadvent.org). The RCC teaches the practice is sin, but the tendency “can be innate.” (If a tendency to sin is innate, would not the Creator bear ultimate responsibility for the sin? Eccl. 7:29; Jas. 1:13)
This week, the RCC affirmed its refusal to ordain practicing homosexuals into its priesthood:
“In light of this teaching, this department (Congregation for Catholic Education, jrp), in agreement with the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, holds it necessary clearly to affirm that the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, may not admit to the seminary and Holy Orders those who practice homosexuality, show profoundly deep-rooted homosexual tendencies, or support the so-called gay culture.” (Translated text of document on CWNews.com, Nov. 22, 05)
The point for consideration here is this: How can the RCC refuse the priesthood to practicing homosexuals while simultaneously “profoundly respecting” them? Are we to conclude the Catholic Church respects the practice of homosexuality? Surely not; they say it is a “grave sin” (Ibid.).
The RCC wants it both ways. It will fellowship the practicing homosexual; just not ordain him. The gospel says to have no fellowship with sin, but to reprove it (Eph. 5:11; 2 Jno. 9-11). Homosexual conduct is sin, as is the lust of the heart that prompts its practice (Rom. 1:26-27). One should neither practice sin nor excuse the lust from which it springs (Mk. 7:20-23; cf. Matt. 5:28).
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