Why Believing in Jesus is Not Enough

Jesus said near the end of the Sermon on the Mount:
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.  Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:21-23)
Jesus went on to finish His sermon by telling the parable of the wise and foolish builders. The moral explained in the parable is plain. It is not alone enough to hear what Jesus says. It is necessary both to hear His words and do them. What Jesus had just stated previously about calling on His name at the judgment scene was basically addressing this same point. It is simply not enough to merely believe in Jesus.
It has always been very hard for me to understand why many in the religious world have taught that the affirmation of Christ’s identity could alone save the sinner. John 7 reveals that many of the Jewish leaders believed in Jesus but did not obey Him, and were thus not His disciples. James 2 also points out that the demons believe in God and tremble, but their works are the works of the devil. During Jesus’ earthly ministry the devil’s angles regularly recognized that Jesus was the Son of God. But this did not ever imply that they were following Him.
Christ’s words about those who call on His name are quite the show stopper. Jesus is saying that many people accept His identity as Lord, but few personally make Him Lord. The only way we can prove that Jesus is the Master of our lives is through humble obedience – hence Jesus’ other statement at the end of this same sermon – “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46).
For some reason, when the church today preaches what Jesus preached about obedience we are labeled as those who believe in “works salvation.” Such could not be further from the case. We are saved by grace, through faith, and that not of ourselves it is the gift of God (Eph. 2:8). Doing the will of God does not mean that we don’t believe in grace. It means we DO believe in grace. In doing the will of God we prove our love to God for His grace by submitting to His better and higher will for us. In obeying the words of Jesus we are simply being faithful disciples and by our actions He knows and we know that He is truly the Lord of our lives.
It makes absolutely no sense for anyone to think that the can call Jesus, “Lord” – and then live as they want, worship as they want, or do anything else for that matter the way that they individually want to do them. If we are not willing to submit to Jesus and obey Him – then the Bible has no true purpose, and the death, burial, and resurrection of God’s only Son hasn’t taught us a thing.
Christianity is not that complicated. Love Jesus. Listen to Jesus. Believe in Jesus. Know Jesus. Obey Jesus. Live like Jesus. Don’t do certain things. Do all of these things. And when you are done at the end of each day doing all of these to the very best of your feeble human ability, give glory to God.
“His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’” – Matthew 25:21
—————————————–

__________ Where They Are

Most who read this will be very familiar with the account of the conversion of the man who has come to be known as “the Ethiopian eunuch.” If you are not familiar with that material, you may want to read it in Acts 8:26-40.

I was sitting in a Bible class recently in which a very good point was made about these events. The observation was made that Philip began his conversation with the eunuch by asking him whether or not he understood what he was reading (v. 30). This passage was compared to other cases of conversion recorded in Acts. It was also compared to people who have been brought to Christ in our present day. 

The point which was made was this: in order to teach somebody what they need to know in order to become a Christian, we need to –

begin where they are.

The “where they are” in this case refers to a person’s understanding. 

What good would it do to point out some biblical truth to somebody who has never heard of a Bible or who does not believe the Bible to be the inspired word of God? With such a person, it would be wise to establish the existence and validity of the Bible before any further study could be done.

What if a person did not know or understand the significance of the Bible having two major divisions? Would it not be wise to begin to try to establish that?

What about some basic biblical words? Wouldn’t it be a good idea to take the time to try to help a person understand such words as church, baptism, redemption, remission, and others?

There are many ways that this principle can be applied. Indeed, it is very important to try to establish where a person is in his or her understanding and to begin there.

As I listened to that discussion, another thought came to my mind. Philip was told this by an angel: “Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza. This is a desert place” (v. 26).

That verse is not about understanding. It is about location or geography. It informs and challenges me. It tells me that, in order for me to teach somebody what they need to know in order to become a Christian, I also need to –

be where they are.

As I reflect on my nearly four decades of “full-time preaching,” I have a few memories of people “walking the aisle” at the conclusion of one of my sermons. I have a lot fewer memories of somebody showing up in my office and expressing a desire to become a Christian.

I have more – many more – memories of relationships that were formed and/or strengthened in family rooms, hospital rooms, funeral homes, restaurants, and other such places. Yes, some of those other places might be considered to be a “desert place,” but they were places that had the same result as the result about which we read in Acts 8:

“… they both went down into the water,

Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him” (v. 38).

It seems to me that “bottom line” is this:

We need to be where they are in order to begin where they are.


To Receive Every Post from A Legacy of Faith through Email for Free, Click Here

AUTHOR: Jim Faughn

Episode 75: Leah Goes to Louisville, 3 Things We Put on Every Month’s Calendar, Parents: Don’t be Fearful, and More! [Podcast]

(Player not displaying or working? Click here to listen.)

In episode 75 of the podcast, Adam and Leah talk about an upcoming homeschool retreat Leah will be speaking at. They also talk about three things they put on every month’s calendar. For quite awhile, they talk about a great article (link below) that helps parents see that do not need to fear; they just need to parent.

Oh, and both Adam and Leah forget what the capital of Kentucky is. We hope you enjoy this week’s episode.

Resource

Print-A-Calendar (for March 2017)

Dear Younger Me: About All Those Things You Fear [Hip Homeschool Moms]

More from A Legacy of Faith

To subscribe to A Legacy of Faith by email for free click here.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes

Subscribe via rss

Find us on Stitcher Radio

Visit the show archives

Legacy Recipe: Festive Chicken and Rice [Free Printable]

I was going through some old file folders of recipes the other day and came across one of my favorites that my mother used to make. I love the feeling that I get when that happens because it takes me back in time and I can remember how the dish looked on the table as we gathered to eat supper.

I hope you will enjoy it as well. It’s delish!

FESTIVE CHICKEN AND RICE

1 box long grain and wild rice

3 pounds of chicken pieces (I use 1 whole chicken cut up, but a pkg. of legs and thighs would work)

1 can whole berry cranberry sauce

3 Tbs. butter

2 Tbs. soy sauce

1 Tbs. lemon juice

½ cup sliced blanched almonds

Heat oven to 325 degrees.

Sprinkle rice evenly in a buttered baking dish (9×13)

Sprinkle contents of seasoning packet over rice.

Arrange chicken pieces on rice.

Combine cranberry sauce, butter, soy sauce and lemon juice in a medium sauce pan, and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until cranberry sauce and butter are melted.

Pour over chicken.

Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Uncover and sprinkle with almonds.

Bake uncovered another 10 minutes or until rice and chicken are tender and almonds are lightly browned.

Makes 6 servings.

To view or print a FREE recipe card, just click on the image below. We hope you enjoy!

Do’s and Don’ts of Selecting Adult Bible School Material

If a congregation chooses to have a Bible school program, one of the more difficult tasks is having a vibrant adult class or classes. Part of the reason for that is that it can be difficult to find literally years’ worth of good material.

Think about it this way: a student is only in the youth group for about four years. If a class uses the quarter system on both Sundays and Wednesdays, that is still just 32 quarters of material. That sounds like a lot…

…until you start looking at it beyond the youth group. Let’s say that same person leaves for a couple of years to go to college, then returns home to work. They place membership at their “home” congregation and grow through their adult years there. They might be an adult member of that congregation for 40, 50, or more years.

That being true, they will study in the Bible school program for at least 320 quarters (Sunday and Wednesday combined), and in some cases many more! Just think about that as you start putting together ideas for materials.

I teach a Sunday and Wednesday adult Bible class, and also help select curriculum for another one. Trust me, coming up with good material quarter after quarter is not easy. If we are not careful, we can fall into a rut, or just tell the teacher, “teach whatever you want.”

Instead, let me offer a few general “do’s” and “don’ts” if you are tasked with helping to select adult Bible school material.

DO Have a PlanThis takes work, but it is the most important step. Instead of just figuring out the next quarter, lay out a couple of years’ worth of material. That way, you can see if you are covering a good range of topics and texts, and it helps you have more time to get materials (both books and supplementary materials).

DON’T be “Married” to a Certain Curriculum. It is fine if a congregation wants to use, for example, “Foundations” from Gospel Advocate or the adult materials from Start2Finish (both of which, by the way, are excellent!). However, I would suggest that we do not just always use those, or that we do not use them on both Sundays and Wednesdays. These are fine materials, but we need to vary how we teach.

DO Give Teachers Time to Prepare. Even if you use a regular curriculum, too many congregations give a teacher a book on one Sunday and say, “Here’s the material for next quarter, and it starts next week.” That is unfair to the teacher and to the students. Even if you just purchase one copy of a book for the teacher, give it to them with several weeks to prepare, if not longer.

DON’T Forget “Classic” Studies. While it is easy to always want the new books and materials, there is a reason why certain books are still in print. I don’t think we should only use new or only use older material, but it is good for adults (especially older adults) to learn again from some older materials. As one example, our auditorium class is getting ready to study the classic book “Heart Diseases and Their Cure” by Wendell Winkler. That book is 45 years old, and the cover is a bit out-dated, but the material is still just as needed.

DO Preview the Materials. Just because so-and-so printed it does not always mean it is good material. Additionally, just because it is marketed as a Bible class book does not mean that it is fitting for your congregation, a specific class, or a certain teacher. Take the time to preview the books for (1) Biblical accuracy, (2) ease of understanding, and (3) teachability.

DON’T Get Stuck in Topical or Textual Studies. One thing I am glad to see among a number of our brotherhood publishers is a balance of textual (book-by-book) studies and topical (day-to-day) studies. Some teachers, though, prefer one over the other and can get in a rut of only studing verse-by-verse or doing one topical study after another. People need to both dig more deeply into the text of Scripture and to apply it to their daily lives. Seek out both kinds of material.

DO Repeat Materials…but DON’T Do It Too Soon. This goes back to planning, but needs to be emphasized. Just because you have used a book in the past does not immediately remove it from future consideration! If it was a good study, make a note of that, and put it in the “idea” folder for a future year (or for a different class). Not everything has to be the latest publication off the printing press! Remember, even though a student may be in adult classes for decades, their life experiences change, their depth of Biblical knowledge changes, and (likely) the person leading the class changes, too.

If I had to give just one step to improving the curriculum of most congregations it would be to take the needed time to review the curriculum and consider a longer-range plan than just quarter-to-quarter. (In all seriousness, do the elders even know what is being taught, both in the current quarter and over a longer period of time? If not, there must be some planning!) Give yourself grace with the amount of time it would take, but then notice the benefits over time, as people are fed the Word of God, both in depth and breadth, due to your efforts.

[NOTE: We would love your additions to this list of “do’s and don’ts.” Below, we have added a Facebook comment box, where you can interact and add your thoughts. We hope you will take advantage of that on this post and any future posts you would like. Thank you!]


To Receive Every Post from A Legacy of Faith through Email for Free, Click Here

AUTHOR: Adam Faughn

Why Don’t People Believe in Hell?

A recent study found that 72% of American adults believed in heaven, while about 58% believed in hell. These numbers are down from past decades. The concepts of eternal rewards and punishments are just not as accepted as the once were – but why?
In particular, the reality of hell is something that many people in the 21st Century are just not willing to believe.  Again we might ask why.  After doing a good deal of reading and research on the opinions of those who do not believe in hell, the following seem to represent their most cited opinions:
·         An eternal place of punishment seems like an unjust consequence for sin.
·         An all-benevolent, all- loving God would never send His created children to everlasting torment.
·         The concepts of hell were not in the original writings of Scripture but were added by the church.
·         The teachings of hell are only for the purpose of trying to scare people into religious submission.
If one were to engage in further study and conversation with those who do not believe in hell, they would discover a multitude of additional reasons why some have consciously decided not to believe. Now remember, what was listed are just a few simple reasons given by non-believers as to why they, in their opinion, do not believe in hell. Now I would like to offer my own reasons why I think some people don’t believe in hell:
·         Believing in hell means giving up control of our own carnal desires and wishes and brings us into a realm of responsibility for our personal actions that leads to an uncomfortable accountability.
·         Hell is incredibly inconvenient for the sinner.
·         Hell is seldom preached and therefore is seldom believed.
·         People allow the media, society, and things that are currently PC to shape their religious views, and anything that seems judgmental, harsh, or intolerant in today’s world is basically rejected.
·         Even many of the most well-educated people have not studied the Bible in its entirety. They do not know about the origin of the text. They do not know about the content of the text.
·         People in our world today base their religious views more on feelings than facts.
·         Many first decide what to believe and then seek any evidence or opinion that will agree with them.
·         People don’t know the true Jesus. They don’t know what He preached about hell. They don’t understand His true purpose for coming to the earth.
This short article could turn quickly into a book. Perhaps that can be written another day. But the discussion of this topic addresses an important point: Whenever a false doctrine or belief prevails in the world there are usually two reasons why. 1. People believe what they want to believe. 2. People are misinformed. This is why God chose “…the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe” (1 Cor. 1:21).
As an interesting side note, the study conducted on beliefs in heaven and hell revealed that even a small percentage of agnostics and atheists believed in both. It is just a part of human nature to consider what exists beyond the grave. In reality, what lies and moves deep inside of each one of us was simply never made for here. And that is just hard for anyone to completely deny.
“And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” – Matthew 25:46
—————————

How to Remodel a Church

Most of us are familiar with the little hand exercise that begins with: here is the church; here is the steeple. Depending on whether or not we have our fingers interlocked, it may end with: open the door; where’s all the people – or –  open the door; there’s all the people.

If only it were that simple. If only the church and the people were two different things, life might be so much more simple. “Church problems” could be fixed with hammers, saws, paint, etc. if the church really was only a building. 

I fully understand that, when many people think of the word “church,” they think of a building. To be sure, our Lord did say that He would build His church in Matthew 16:18. When Paul wrote the letter to the Ephesians, he penned these words:  “…you…are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone” (Eph. 2:19-20). 

As that passage continues, the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to use words and phrases like “structure” (v. 21), “built together” (v. 22), and “dwelling place” (v. 22). It is beginning to sound like the church is, in fact, a building, doesn’t it?

However, the key word in the text to which we have referred may be the word “you.” To whom (or to what) were these words addressed?

As the epistle to the Ephesians begins, we find the answer. This epistle is addressed “…to the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 1:1). 

The letter is addressed to people

The church is composed of people.    

The church is not made of wood, metal, bricks, mortar, wiring, plumbing, etc. The church is people. 

The church is people who are not all alike. 

As I type these words, I am thinking of the particular church family of which I am blessed to be a member and in which I serve as one of the elders. We are a diverse group.

As one would look around during one of our assemblies, he/she would see a variety of skin colors. We do not all have the same religious background. Some “grew up in the church.” In fact, some grew up in this particular congregation. Others have come from other religious backgrounds or no religious background at all.

If you include those who are too young to be Christians, we have people who have not yet begun their public or home school experience. At the same time, there are those who have completed years and years of formal education. We live in six different counties in two different states. (I recently discovered that one man who has been visiting on a regular basis has just begun the process of becoming a naturalized U. S. citizen.)

Where I worship, there are some fairly large extended families and there are some who have no other person there with whom they are related. There are those “in the prime of life” and those who are struggling with some debilitating effects of either aging or disease (or both). Some of us are fairly “well off” financially, while others of us are “struggling to get by.”

I could go on and on with how diverse one congregation can be, but that is not what is on my mind at this time. What I am thinking about presently has to do with the challenges and opportunities this diversity provides.

Unlike building materials, people have feelings. We can (and do) get hurt from time to time. We have opinions. Those opinions differ from time to time. We have emotions. Since we are all different, we cannot all expect to be happy, sad, excited, concerned, etc. at the same time. Each one of us has his/her individual preferences. It would border on foolish to think that even two people would have the exact same list of preferences on everything. 

So – what does all of this mean? 

At least in part, it means that there are no “quick fixes” to challenges that are bound to arise within a local congregation of God’s people. A new coat of paint will not cover up a problem. Replacing the flooring won’t solve anything. A proper solution for stresses that may arise will not be found in a new roof, updated plumbing, a revamped electrical system, etc.

“People problems” cannot be solved with building materials. Some other solution must be found. Some other solution is available.

It is interesting to me that, in the same letter in which Paul used “building terms,” he also was very aware that he was writing to people. He did not use building terms to address people problems. He did, however, write something in that same letter that would go a long, long way in preventing and/or solving problems that arise from time to time. 

Some of us like to preach and teach a great deal on “the seven ones of Ephesians 4:4-6.” It is my firm belief that people outside of Christ will not care much about those seven ones until and unless they see those who claim to be His people practicing what they read in Ephesians 4:1-3.

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:1-3).

I am not, by any stretch of anybody’s imagination, a handyman. I am, however, a Christian. As such I pray that I will use the “tools” I have at my disposal to build and repair; not to damage and destroy.

If a church needs to be remodeled, that project might need to begin with me. I might need to check my attitude, my level of involvement, and my dedication to the One whose name I wear.


To Receive Every Post from A Legacy of Faith through Email for Free, Click Here

AUTHOR: Jim Faughn

“I Was Born This Way”

[Editor’s Note: Today’s article is a guest post from Jonathan Medley from the Pippen church of Christ. We are grateful for his willingness to share this article with our readers.]

At one time, society considered the admission of being homosexual extremely taboo, and it ruined the reputation and careers of many high-profile individuals. More importantly, society considered it sinful. However, society has changed. Today, it almost seems “fashionable” to some to be homosexual, and there are many who unashamedly proclaim it to the world. Along with the change in society has come the concept of thinking that someone is “born this way.” By that, they claim that being homosexual is encoded into the person’s genetic makeup, meaning there is nothing he or she can do about it.

Many in the scientific community have spent countless hours (and untold amounts of money) trying to determine if genetics has anything to do with someone being homosexual. In a nutshell, they are trying to determine if homosexuality is a “choice.” Some scientists claim they have proven you can be born homosexual. Some scientists claim there is no evidence for such a claim. A quick Google search will show that there is no consensus on this study.

But this short article is not scientific in nature, and that’s for one very good reason. I’m not a scientist. I won’t even venture to claim that I fully understand these studies. I’ve tried to read a few of them, but some of the lingo simply goes over my head. However, there is one thing that I understand, and it’s impossible to misinterpret:

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived.  Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.” [I Corinthians 6:9-10] (emphasis added)

Far too often, we as Christians seem to get wrapped up in arguments that pull us away from Scripture. Just recently, I had someone ask me if I believed that you could be born a homosexual. My response was simple: “It’s irrelevant.” Knowing that I was a Christian, this individual was shocked that I didn’t immediately criticize such a claim. Instead, it opened up the opportunity for a conversation. I explained to this individual that the answer to that question really doesn’t matter. Instead, the question should be, “If I am born with a desire to commit sin, does that mean I have the right to commit that sin and stand justified before God?” The answer to that question is emphatically NO!

Homosexuality is sin. There is no question about it. Anyone who claims otherwise is either dismissing Scripture altogether or ignoring many parts of it (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4-5; Romans 1:26-28; I Timothy 1:8-11; I Corinthians 7:2). Having a strong temptation to commit an act that is sinful does not mean that I’m not required to stand up to that temptation. For years, some have claimed that serial killers are more prone to commit murder than others due to their genetic makeup. Let’s say for a moment that is true. Does that mean that God will turn a blind eye to this person’s act of murder? Absolutely not!

So what do you say to someone who claims he or she has the desire to be a homosexual and there’s nothing that can be done about it? I would begin by sharing with that person the same thing that Paul shared with the congregation in Corinth:

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.  God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” [I Corinthians 10:13]


To Receive Every Post from A Legacy of Faith through Email for Free, Click Here

Guest Author: Jonathan Medley

Satan is…Good?

Satan is good. He is horribly, terribly good. Oh, he’s not good in the sense that he is free from malice or evil. But he is good at his work.

What exactly is the work of Satan? From the beginning, he has been a master deceiver seeking to disrupt the peace and harmony between God and man. In the book of Job, when questioned about his activity Satan said he had been “…going to and fro on the earth, and … walking up and down on it.” He conveniently left out what Peter reveals about those earthly wanderings in 1 Peter 5:8: “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

How do we even fight against an enemy who is “a liar and the father of lies…” (John 8:44)? How do you defend against someone who is the master of chaos, the “the deceiver of the whole world” (Revelation 12:9)?

May I offer the most comforting answer that I have found? It is simply in knowing that Jehovah God, the One Who is on our side, is better. He is more powerful. In fact, He has already won and all we must do is to stand in Him!

Remember dear friends that it is God Who will “wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Rev. 21:4). It is God Who has “overcome the world” (John 16:33). Romans 8:38-39 still rings true today: “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

So how do we rest in that peace? We put on the armor God has provided that will protect us from Satan and his fiery darts. We rely on God’s strength and not our own. We depend on His promises and wait on His timing. We stand in Him.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” Ephesians 6:10-13 [emphasis added]


To Receive Every Post from A Legacy of Faith through Email for Free, Click Here

AUTHOR: Amber Tatum

Gossip: The Quiet Sin that Will Destroy a Church

In the old King James Version, it was called “whispering” (Romans 1:29; 2 Corinthians 12:20). Today, we call it gossip.

More than that, though, we often laugh at it, treating it as something harmless that people just do.

In reality, gossip is a hideous sin, and it will destroy lives…and can even destroy a congregation.

So…What is “Gossip?”

To understand why gossip is so dangerous, though, we must understand what gossip is. The King James Version uses the word “whispering” or “whisperers” to translate the word that we usually think of as “gossip.” The reason why they chose that word was actually very good.

There was another Greek term that usually comes to us in Scripture as the word “slander,” and it carried the idea of hurting someone openly. Sometimes, we hear it as a “backbiter.” The idea is that we are tearing down someone’s character out in the open.

A “whisperer”–a gossip–though, does just the same thing, but in hushed tones. Spiros Zodhiates describes the Greek word as “a secret slanderer” (The Complete Word Study New Testament, pg. 968). It is not out in the open like a slanderer, but the result is the same.

We are harming someone’s reputation, but doing so in a quiet, hushed fashion. Thus, a “whisperer.”

Isn’t It Just Harmless, Though?

But, isn’t this just harmless? We aren’t really hurting anyone. We’re just telling a few stories. We’re just blowing off some steam…….

It is far from harmless. In fact, gossip is pure evil.

Consider how truly evil gossip is. Not only is it going against the reputation of a fellow Christian, it is doing so without even having the backbone to do so to that person’s face. It is hearing some “juicy tidbit” about someone and not even having the courtesy or love to check the story with the one this could harm. It is running to tell another person the worst about someone before we ever stop to pray to our Father in heaven, seeking best in that person.

And here we thought it was just passing along a little story.

Gossip can ruin a person’s reputation. It can change, and even destroy, relationships. It can cause tension and distrust among people.

And all the while, we are just laughing it off as no big deal. It’s just what people do, right?

And, Oh, How Is Spreads

These little tales go to our inmost being and make us feel like we have something we just have to share. They eat away at our heart and soul for other people, and we reduce relationships to digging for dirt to talk about. “The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down to the inner parts of the body” (Proverbs 18:8). And then it spreads since we just have to tell.

In our technological age, gossip is more incendiary than ever. As soon as we hear that little tidbit, we pick up our smartphone and group text (making sure, of course, that the “guilty” party isn’t included in the group). We jump on Messenger and share it with someone several states away. We call up our friends and “just have to tell” what we have heard.

And all the while, the Bride of Christ is hurt.

A brother or sister in Christ is having his/her name run through the mud.

The community is learning that we do not keep secrets, and we do not mind sharing “dirt” on someone we claim to love.

A society is seeing that we are looking for some little tale to tell, just like they are.

A family member is, possibly, in need of loving restoration, but, instead, is being run down without even knowing it.

And the trust needed to have a strong and loving Christian family is slowly eroded, one conversation or one late-night text message at a time.

Eventually, though the doors to the building are open, the light of a congregation that is filled with gossip is snuffed out. A church can be destroyed, as the family atmosphere is eroded tale by tale by tale…….

Conclusion

Paul commanded Christians, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29). In what way could we possibly say that gossip is “good for building up?” In what way is it possibly a type of speech that “gives grace?”

We can’t, because gossip is evil.

Before you press “send;” before you make that phone call to tell what you have heard; before you sit around and listen to the latest gossip from around town; consider the Bride of Christ. Consider your Christian family. Consider the reputation of the church.

And leave the gossip behind.


To Receive Every Post from A Legacy of Faith through Email for Free, Click Here

AUTHOR: Adam Faughn

Photo background credit: S. Packwood on Creative Commons