RULES OF A GOOD SOLDIER (& Christian Soldier!)

Luke 3:14 And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.


I received some correspondence once from someone that wondered how as a Christian and a pastor I could praise soldiers.  How I could life up the Armed Forces.  After all they concluded, isn't it anti-biblical?  I know of Independent Pastors that say no Christian should join the military, and that if someone got saved, they should not re-inlist.  We will see today not only are these ideas NOT found in the Bible, but God commends us to be like Soldiers!


The office and employment of a soldier is not condemned, but regulated; he does not bid them cast away their arms, abandon war, appear no more as military men in the field; but manage their employment as inoffensively as possible.

Philippians 2:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;


I.  DO VIOLENCE TO NO MAN

Do not take the property of any by unlawful force (pillage & rape), or do not use unjust force against the person or property of any individual. Put no man in fear.  The only one that should fear the soldier is the enemy. Strong in their organization, they terrified the weak and enforced gratuities by acts of violence.

Jeremiah 22:3 Thus saith the LORD; Execute ye judgment and righteousness, and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor: and do no wrong, do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow, neither shed innocent blood in this place.

Proverbs 3:30 Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm.  31 Envy thou not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways.

Luke 10:33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, 34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.


II.  DON'T ACCUSE FALSELY

SYCOPHANT: A servile self-seeker who seeks to please people in positions of authority or influence in order to gain power themselves, usually at the cost of pride, principles, and peer respect. An informer/flatterer. Soldiers often blackmailed the rich by being informers and fasely accusing.

Luke 11:53 And as he said these things unto them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to urge him vehemently, and to provoke him to speak of many things:  54 Laying wait for him, and seeking to catch something out of his mouth, that they might accuse him.

Luke 19:8 And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.

Titus 2:3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;


III.  BE CONTENT WITH YOUR PAY

Do not murmur or complain, or take unlawful means to increase your wages(wages included their rations or daily allowance of food)

Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

1 Timothy 6:8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.  9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.  10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.  6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

Psalms 84:10 For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.   11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.




THE SAVIOR SENSITIVE CHURCH

2 Timothy 4:1-5 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

INTRODUCTION: This series of lessons comes from a heart of concern and with a great desire to challenge church members to maintain a passionate sensitivity for Christ and His will in the church.

The principles in this series are not based on a depressed longing for the “good ole days.” The conviction is much deeper than just the idea that we’re old fashioned. What I’l be teaching isn’t just old-fashioned; it’s Bible-fashioned.

• Many young Christians are looking at the fruit of so called “mega churches” and, because they desire great numerical growth, they fail to look below the surface and see the root of these ministries.

• In 2003, a study by the University of Chicago stated, “The number of Americans that call

themselves Protestants went from 63% to 52% in the last ten years. By the year 2005 America will no longer have a Protestant majority.”

• Although Baptists are not Protestant, the reason for the decline according to this study is very interesting. The article said the reason was that “Mainline churches did not require enough commitment, theologically or evangelistically, from congregants.”

• What is interesting to see is that many so-called “Fundamental Baptist” churches are getting involved in the seeker-sensitive movement which embraces a philosophy requiring less commitment “theologically and evangelistically.” This is where we need to begin to worry as Baptists.

• As today’s Fundamental Baptist churches continue to require commitment from their people, we will run the risk of being called “overbearing, legalistic and uncaring.”

• On the other hand, as the study shows, if we hold on to the unbiblical teaching of the seek sensitive movement, we will fail in the area of reaching the lost world for Christ.

• I say we stay true to the purpose and intent God has for His church. Let’s be a Savior Sensitive church.


I. POST-MODERNISM

INTRODUCTION: Recently In the News, there has been a philosophy in teaching that is sweeping the nation. The way of thinking is that if a student tells you that 2 plus 2 equals 5, you cannot tell the child that he is wrong. After all, he is right in the sense that he believes it is 5. You may laugh, but there have been hundreds of schools across the nation that have adapted to this way of teaching. The philosophy is called “Post-Modernism.”

A. DO YOUR OWN THING PHILOSOPHY

B. VALUE CLARIFICATION

1. This taught that all moral values are relative and, therefore, all moral values are acceptable.  

The Jiminy Cricket Philosophy.

Judges 17:6 In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.   Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.

2. Here is the behavior that Value Clarification taught society: You can still talk about truth,

but you can only talk about what is true for you and what is true for me.

3. Under Value Clarification, you can’t say that sodomy is wrong. Instead, you must say,

“Homosexuality is wrong for me.” Absolute right and absolute wrong became a thing of the past.

C. ABSOLUTE TRUTH HAS BEEN REPLACED WITH RELATIVE TRUTH.

D. FUNDAMENTAL BAPTIST LEADERSHIP IS AT A CROSSROADS

Ezekiel 34:6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them. Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.  Jeremiah 10:21 For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the LORD: therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered. 23:1 Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD.


II. DESIGNER TRUTH

INTRODUCTION: Paul is nearing his death and he is about to hand off the baton to the next generation of preachers. Paul uses this opportunity to warn Timothy against the very thinking that we face in modern day Christendom.

A. DESIGNER TRUTH IS EVOLVING TRUTH

Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; ... 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

1. In the church, we see this philosophy in movements like the neo-evangelical movement.

2. Evolving truth can be well defined in:

2 Timothy 3:7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

B. DESIGNER TRUTH IS EXPERIENTIAL TRUTH

2 Timothy 4:3 ...but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;  Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

1. God warned that there would be those who would scoff at the Bible, God and Truth.

2 Peter 3:3-7 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. 5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: 6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: 7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

Why do they scoff at the Bible? Because they know it’s truth.

2. Did you know that God has revealed Himself to every man who has walked on this planet?

Romans 1:18-20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

3. The Bible tells us that God has written the truth on man’s heart

Romans 2:14-15 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: 15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

4. The true reason man scoffs at the Bible is because he is walking after his own lusts.

John 3:19-20 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

5. Ultimately, man doesn’t accept absolute truth

because man doesn't want to change his ways.

6. The Post-modernist’s personal experiences define their needs and shape their answers to

those needs.  So they came up with “Pragmatism.”

8. Pragmatism is a way of creating truth based on experience or on “what works.”

(an American movement in philosophy founded by C. S. Peirce and William James and marked by the doctrines that the meaning of conceptions is to be sought in their practical bearings, that the function of thought is to guide action, and that truth is preeminently to be tested by the practical consequences of belief)

9. This is where we find the birth of the Seeker Sensitive Church.

C. DESIGNER TRUTH IS ECLECTIC TRUTH

2 Timothy 4:3 ...teachers...

1. "Teachers" is in plural form. Not one under shepherd but many teachers.

2. They’d rather many instructors over one pastor or one God.

3. If there is no absolute truth, we can take what we want from each version of the Bible and

choose what to follow.

D. DESIGNER TRUTH IS ELEVATED TRUTH

2 Tim 4:4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

1. Fable means false, fictitious or ludicrous.

Isaiah 47:10 For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness: thou hast said, None seeth me. Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee; and thou hast said in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me.

2. My friend, the term "I Am" is reserved for one person and it’s not you or me.

CONCLUSION: THE BIBLE TEACHES US THAT MEN WILL BE BENT ON UPON

REJECTING GOD’S TRUTH.

Deuteronomy 30:17 But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them;  Proverbs 28:9 He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination. Isaiah 56:10-12 His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. 11 Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter. 12 Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant.  12:2 Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.

III. DISCOVERED TRUTH

2 Preach the word;

• Discovered truth is truth that has always been here.

• Discovered truth stands outside of the realm of my experience or intellect or anybody else’s.

• Discovered truth stand neutral and unchanging apart from me or anything that I am.

A. DISCOVERED TRUTH IS ETERNAL TRUTH

2 Timothy 4:1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;

1. The reason why truth is eternal is because the Author of that truth is eternal.

Malachi 3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not; ...   Numbers 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?  James 1:17 ...the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

2. God’s truth does not change with the times; it is not culturally relative; it is not pragmatic.

3. God’s truth is eternal truth because God Himself is eternal and Immutable.

Psalm 102:25-27 Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands. 26 They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed: 27 But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.

B. DISCOVERED TRUTH IS ESTABLISHED TRUTH

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

1. God’s Word is established truth because it is based on sound doctrine.

2 Timothy 4:3 ...sound doctrine; ...

2. His Word is true even when it contradicts your experience.

2 Peter 1:16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.  19-21 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

Psalm 119:89 For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.  152 Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever.  Luke 16:17 And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.  21:33 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.

C. DISCOVERED TRUTH IS EXAMINED TRUTH

5 ...make full proof of thy ministry.

"Quite studying your Bible; let your Bible study you!"

1. It’s time that we give ourselves to God’s Word in the spirit of humility and submission.

"We must approach the Word of God with the spirit of submitted obedience; coming under God’s

final authority, determined to be conformed to Christ and transformed by God’s power."

 - John Goetsch

2. The living, unchanging Word of God must be given access to our hearts. Why?

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

3. We need an MRI from God’s Word to show us the condition of our hearts.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

4. Our hearts can become as hard as a rock,

but Jeremiah tells us that God’s Word is like a hammer.

Jeremiah 23:29 Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh

the rock in pieces?  Ezekiel 36:26-27  A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

D. DISCOVERED TRUTH IS ENDURING TRUTH

5 But watch thou in all things, endure

1. Paul is telling Timothy that one day he may be in the same place as Paul was; ready to place

his head on a chopping block for Christ.

2. He’s telling Timothy that when this happens, he is to just stay by the stuff because real truth

is an enduring truth.

3. When our lives are over, we are not going to stand before designer truth, but discovered

Truth.

John 12:48  He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the

word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

IV. BIBLICAL MINISTRY VS. MAN-CENTERED MINISTRY

• The word “preach” in the New Testament means a strong declaration of the truth and the singing of the church has always been songs, hymns and spiritual songs so I think I’ll do it the Bible way.

• Perhaps the two greatest contrasts in the early churches were the church of Laodicea and the

church of Thessalonica.

• The word “Laodicea” means the people’s rights.

• Though Paul had only been at Thessalonica for a few months, the Holy Spirit of God moved

mightily.

1 Thessalonians 1:3 Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;

• Paul defends the integrity of his ministry at Thessalonica in I Thessalonians 1-2.

• It is here that he defines many qualities of the Savior-Sensitive church.

A. A CHURCH WITH PURE MOTIVES

1 Thessalonians 2:3-6 For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile: 4 But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts. 5 For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness: 6 Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ.

1. Paul first defends his ministry by stating that his ministry had not been a deceitful one.

2 Corinthians 2:17 For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.

2. Secondly, the apostle Paul stated that he was not unclean in his ministry.

a. The word “guile” means to bate or to snare. It speaks of using trickery or deceit.

b. (Illus.) When the term “New Evangelical” was coined at Fuller Seminary by Harold

Ockenga, his desire was to bring modernists (deniers of the truth) together with

fundamentalists (believers of the truth) by encouraging them to compromise on their

doctrinal position. It was a bait intended to snare people together for the purpose of

drawing a crowd. The results of this compromise is the ecumenical gatherings we see

today such as the  “Promise Keepers”.

3. Essentially, the apostle Paul is saying that the church at Thessalonica had integrity.

2 Timothy 3:10 But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,

4. Paul makes a point, also, to show that the church of Thessalonica was not man-centered.

Galatians 1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.

“It is not the business of the church to adapt Christ to men, but men to Christ.” - Paul Chappell

B. THE REDEFINING OF GRACE

Titus 2:11-12 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

1. Often in the "Seeker-Sensitive" church’s attempt to please men,

they pollute the doctrine of Grace.

2. Somehow, there is an entire generation of Christians who are being raised to believe that

grace produces less holiness in the life of the believer.

Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

3. This new teaching on grace is leading Christians to believe they can live any way

they want to and still please God in doing so.

4. Living under grace will cause us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts;

and to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.

5. May we be reminded that the church is not man’s, but the Lord’s.

Acts 20:28   Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which

the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

6. Paul makes it clear that he was not deceitful, man-centered or covetous in his ministry.

C. A CHURCH WITH A PERSONAL MINISTRY

1 Thessalonians 2:7  But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children:

1. The apostle Paul was very personal in his care of the Christians.

2. We as Bible-believing Christians must maintain a strong doctrinal position.

3. Our convictions will be challenged, but we must stay grounded in the Word of God.

4. We also must, however, remain gentle and easily approached by the lost and by new

believers whom we have an opportunity to minister to.

Jude 1:22  And of some have compassion, making a difference:

5. The apostle Paul was also personal in his commitment to the people.

1 Thessalonians 2:8 So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.

6. People do not care how much we know until they know how much we care.

D. A CHURCH WITH A POWERFUL MESSAGE

1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

1. Paul clearly states that the epistle he was writing was given to him by direct revelation.

2. This was not his opinion and these were not his ideas. This was the very Word of God.

1 Peter 1:23  Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God,

which liveth and abideth for ever.  Matthew 4:4  But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

3. Not only does power exist in the preserved Word of God, but it also exists in the preached

Word of God.

1 Thessalonians 2:9 For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.

I Timothy 3:16  And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in

the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the

world, received up into glory.

Romans 1:16  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto

salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

4. Several modern day seeker-sensitive leaders have stated that modern day Pharisees are

more concerned about purity than people. They call us legalists.

5. We must be concerned about both people and purity.

One does not contradict the other.

6. Jesus was concerned about people, but He was also concerned about purity.

Ephesians 5:27  That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or

wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

7. We must be concerned about doctrinal purity and at the same time concerned for a lost

and dying world. The Seeker-Sensitive movement believes that it is impossible to be

concerned about both.

James 1:15  Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished,

bringeth forth death.

8. The preaching of the Word of God is an authoritative declaration of the truth of God’s

Word.

9. One of the saddest verses in the Bible was about the church of Laodicea.

Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

10. Let’s not leave God on the outside of our church, wanting to come in.


V. THE PHILOSOPHY OF A SAVIOR-SENSITIVE CHURCH

Revelation 3:14-20 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; 15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

INTRODUCTION: For years there has been a growing movement in our country called the Seeker-

Sensitive Church Movement. Many churches, including Independent Baptist churches, have been

influenced by a philosophy that is man-centered, as opposed to being God-centered. Many pastors are buying into the post-modern thought of our day and leading their churches down a path of pragmatism and carnality.

• Our goal in church ministry should always be to please Christ and glorify Him in the church. (II

Tim. 2:3-4)

Ephesians 6:6  Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will

of God from the heart;

• In this message, I want to explore the philosophy associate with growing a true, Savior-Sensitive

church.

A. THE OWNERSHIP OF THE SAVIOR-SENSITIVE CHURCH.

1. The Seeker-Sensitive church has taken the authority of the church and placed it into the

hands of the community at large.

2. The problem is that we, as a Bible-Believers, understand that the Savior-Sensitive church is

not the "people’s church" but it rightfully is the Lord’s church.

I Peter 5:3  Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.  

Acts 20:28  Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which

 the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased

with his own blood.

3. The very root problem in modern day church compromise is the question of authority.

B. THE MESSAGE OF THE SAVIOR SENSITIVE CHURCH

1. The message of the Savior-Sensitive church must always be biblical in its content.

2. The Savior-Sensitive church will not change God’s message to please men.

a. Many times in the Old Testament, Israel would get mad at the prophet’s messages, and

hire a false prophet that would give prophesies they wanted to hear.

b. That false prophet is a good example of the Savior-Sensitive pastors of today.

3. The Word of God is powerful and must be preached with conviction.

4. It must be declared with authority and it must be central to every message and S.S. lesson.

(Romans 1:14-16) (1 Corinthians 1:18-21)

Jeremiah 3:15  And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with

knowledge and understanding.

5. The message of the Savior-Sensitive church will continually lift up the cross, the Gospel of

Jesus Christ, and the life-changing truth of God’s Word.

C. THE MISSION OF THE SAVIOR-SENSITIVE CHURCH

• The Savior Sensitive Church’s primary goals and missions:

1. A desire to be sensitive to the Lord in all it does.

1 Thessalonians 5:19  Quench not the Spirit.

2. A desire to be sensitive to the mission of the Lord Jesus Christ.

(Matthew 28:19-20) (Luke 19:10)

D. THE MOTIVATION OF THE SAVIOR-SENSITIVE CHURCH.

1. The first motivation must be the Word of God.

(1 Timothy 3:15)

2. The second motivation must be the Love of Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:14  For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one

died for all, then were all dead:

3. The third motivation must be the Grace of God.

i. We are motivated to serve God and one another.

Galatians 5:13  For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an

occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

ii. We are motivated to encourage one another.

Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is

good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

iii. We are motivated to give.

2 Corinthians 8:6-7  Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also

finish in you the same grace also. Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance,

and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.

b. The grace of God at work in our hearts will do more to help us to stay faithful to Christ

than any other thing!

c. Man-made “guilt trips”, sensational dramas or films, high-powered marketing ploys, and

promotional gimmicks can never create within a church family the kind of love,

devotion, commitment, and service that the incredible grace of God can produce!

VI. THE PRACTICE OF A SAVIOR-SENSITIVE CHURCH

• There are three major visible areas that slip first in the Seeker-Sensitive church: The Music, The

Youth Ministry and The Methods.

A. THE MUSIC OF A SAVIOR-SENSITIVE CHURCH

 (Ephesians 5:18-20)

1. The conscience of a Holy Spirit led believer will bear witness against the CCM movement.

2. The music of a Savior-Sensitive church does not focus on the musician.

3. The term “spiritual songs” is from the Greek word pneumatikos meaning Holy Spirit given

music.

4. Music cannot appeal to the flesh and to the Spirit at the same time.

5. A Savior-Sensitive church must not be afraid of being perceived as a church with a different

or traditional worship style.

Jeremiah 10:2  Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at

the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.

6. In an effort to people with ungodly music, we distance them from God and defile His

church with carnality. Spirit-led music will never mimic the world’s style.

Psalm 40:1-3)  (Romans 12:1-2)

B. THE METHODS OF THE SAVIOR-SENSITIVE CHURCH

1. I want you to remember this statement:

“What we win them with is what we keep them with.”

2. The methodology of the church should be Biblically sound.

3. Our message should be in agreement with the Scriptures and, in fact, they should come

from the Scriptures.

4. That’s why at our church, we still go out into the community and knock on

doors, support missionaries, have special offerings, have godly men and women teach S. S.

classes, etc. . .

5. Our methods are Bible-based and we must continue to do our best to follow God’s

blueprint.

6. Let me say that there are some Independent, Fundamental Baptist churches that do things

slightly different than us, but are still Biblically sound. We must be careful to not think as

the Pharisees.

7. They may use screens, have a modern looking building, or sing from a different hymnal.

That’s ok.

8. As long as another church is holding to sound doctrine and endeavoring to win the lost to

Christ, our spirit should be of praise for the souls that are being won at that church.

C. THE YOUTH OF THE SAVIOR-SENSITIVE CHURCH.

1. One of my greatest concerns for the youth of the Seeker-Sensitive church is that they are

seeing a watered-down concept of what Christianity truly is.

2. These teenagers are getting the idea that church is all about them and not about the Lord.

3. In contrast, teenagers in a Savior-Sensitive church will see godly mentors.

Philippians 4:9  Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in

me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

4. We need godly mentors who can say, “Do what you see in me.”

D. THE COST OF A SAVIOR-SENSITIVE CHURCH

1. There will always be a cost in maintaining a Savior-Sensitive church.

2. Those who are in the Laodicean-Sensitive Movement will claim that a church that stays

doctrinally and practically in the position, which they once held, is one that doesn’t

emphasize grace.

3. They will claim that we are legalists and that we emphasize doctrine over the needs of the

people.

4. A mature Christian realizes that “standards” are not the ultimate goal of the church. Jesus

Christ is.

5. But a standard based on a Bible principle will only aid us in living a Christ honoring life.

6. Others will justify the path they have chosen by criticizing a church that will remain the

same.

7. This is all a part of the cost of being a Savior-Sensitive church.

8. Although the Seeker-Sensitive church will talk about grace, they show very little of it when

they verbally attack Savior-Sensitive churches.

9. They seem to forget what the Bible says in:

Galatians 5:13  For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an

occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

E. THE ALTERNATIVE TO THE SAVIOR SENSITIVE CHURCH

1. The alternative to seeking to please the Savior is to seek to please the culture around us. (So we go back to Romans 12:1-2)

2. We must not desire to conform to the world’s system and philosophies, but must maintain

our stand as a distinctive Baptist church.

F. THE REWARD OF THE SAVIOR SENSITIVE CHURCH

1. Finally, I want you to contemplate the reward of being faithful to the Savior.

2. The reward will be spiritual fruit.

3. I believe that our Bible-believing churches across America in which the Bible is being

preached faithfully and men and women are being called upon to turn to Jesus for salvation,

the fruit will truly be fruit that is brought about by the inner working of the Holy Spirit.

4. I believe that not only will there be souls saved, but I believe there will be eternal rewards

for churches and Christians who remain faithful.

1 Corinthians 3:11-15 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. 14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.



For the Love of the Family Ministries

Missionaries to America's Forgotten Mission Field, the Family

The Designer Lust Church

Dr. Terry L. Coomer, Pastor

Ministry of Hope Baptist Church

139 Shadow Oaks Drive

Sherwood, AR  72120

501-819-0446

TLCOOMER@juno.com

www.fortheloveofthefamily.com

www.hopebaptistlittlerock.com  

 

Listen to Dr. Coomer on the worldwide radio broadcast "For The Love Of The Family" every Saturday at 2:00 P.M. and 9:00 P.M. EST on  www.aocbroadcast.com or visit the audio page at www.fortheloveofthefamily.com.

 

These articles may be copied in their entirety to help and strengthen families to live for the Savior. They are not to be changed in any manner or sold. This header must be on all copies. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the author.


GOSSIP, WHAT IS IT?


Gossip is a great evil, and because of the corruption of the fallen human heart, it is a constant problem. The old Adamic nature delights in hearing and spreading gossip. Gossip is not something that is confined to old women. In fact, it is a great problem among independent Baptist preachers. I have often been amazed at the gossip that is spread by pastors and evangelists, and I must confess that I have done some gossiping myself through the years.


Recently the rumor was spread around that a pastor friend of mine was getting a divorce. It was a total fabrication. Some years ago the rumor was spread among some preachers that a prominent fundamental Baptist pastor had murdered a man and had hid him in a bus barn. It was a total fabrication. I have heard many different rumors spread even about me. It is widely rumored that I am a Baptist Brider, for example, which is absolute nonsense. Other rumors have gone abroad that I correct the King James Bible, which also is absolute nonsense. Others have said that I believe the English Bible has replaced the Greek and Hebrew and that it is wrong to use lexicons or to do word studies, which is absolute nonsense. While we were attending a certain Baptist church some years ago, several preachers told me that the pastor at this church was a divorced man, yet it was not true. I could give many other examples of unfounded and hurtful gossip among fundamental Baptist preachers.


WHAT GOSSIP IS


Though the word “gossip” does not appear in the Bible, the concept does.


Gossip is called TALEBEARING (Lev. 19:16; Prov. 11:13; 18:8; 20:19; 26:20-22)

and BACKBITING (Psa. 15:3), which is talking to others about the intimate details of people’s lives for injurious purposes.


Gossip is called being a “BUSYBODY IN OTHER MEN’S MATTERS” (1 Pet. 4:5). This means putting one’s nose in other people’s affairs which are none of my business.


Gossip is called “SLANDER” (Num. 14:36, 37; 2 Sam. 19:27; Prov. 10:18; Jer. 9:4-6; Rom. 3:8; 1 Tim. 3:11). This means to say false things about people, especially with the objective of hurting them. For something to be slanderous, it must involve deceit and falsehood and an injurious motive. To spread rumors about someone in an attempt to hurt that person is wicked gossip. We must be extremely careful about passing along things that we hear. If there is any question about the truthfulness of something, it is essential to verify it from someone who is in a position to know the matter.


Gossip is called “TATTLING” (1 Tim. 5:13). This means to prattle on about other people’s lives when it is none of one’s business and when one has no godly motive for such talk, to gossip).


God’s people must guard themselves vigilantly against these sins. Gossip is extremely damaging. In fact, gossip can destroy a preacher’s effectiveness and can ruin an entire church.


WHAT GOSSIP IS NOT


It is very important, though, not to confuse gossip with legitimate Christian endeavors.


SPEAKING TRUTH TO PROPER PARTIES FOR A GODLY PURPOSE IS NOT GOSSIP


It is not wrong to share truthful things with those who have a right to such information.


For example, it was not gossip for the household of Chloe to tell Paul about the problems in the church at Corinth (1 Cor. 1:11). As the founder of that church, Paul had a right to know about those problems, and the household of Chloe were not telling him these things to hurt the Lord’s work but to help it. It is not gossip to talk to a pastor or Sunday School teacher or deacon about matters in church members’ lives that they should know about. It is not gossip to talk to a father or mother about matters affecting their children.


It was not gossip for Paul to remind Timothy that the Cretians had a poor national character which he described in such harsh-sounding terms as “liars, evil beasts, slow bellies” (Titus 1:12). What Paul said about the Cretians (quoting one of their own poets) was true, and his motive was not to hurt them but to help them (“that they may be sound in the faith” Titus 1:13) and to further the work of Christ in Crete.


It is not wrong for a Christian to warn another person about a serious problem in a church or organization, so long as the information is true and the motive is not to hurt but to help and to warn. Oftentimes I have warned people about serious problems with certain churches that I have known about. That is not gossip and it is not slander.


It is not gossip to speak the truth in love, regardless of how harsh the truth might sound.


QUESTIONING A PREACHER’S TEACHING IS NOT GOSSIP


It is also not wrong to question a pastor in a humble and godly manner and to test his teaching by the Scriptures. In fact, we have a responsibility before God to do that. That is not gossip and it is not wrong. Of course, we always must guard our hearts that we don’t become bitter and that we don’t develop a bad attitude and then try to hurt the pastor or the church by spreading things around the church membership or community.


We must also use wisdom about such matters. For example, it is not usually wise and proper to question a pastor publicly about some perceived error or problem. It is best handled in private, at least at first.


That being said, the bottom line is that it is not wrong to question a pastor’s teaching. Acts 17:11; 1 Thess. 5:21; and 1 Cor. 14:29 settle that. Pastors have much authority, but they are not popes and they are not to be followed blindly. Their authority is the Word of God, and if they veer from that they have no authority and should be corrected. And yet many godly Christians have been branded as gossips and troublemakers when they have attempted to question something the preacher taught. All too many pastors have wrongly defined “gossip” as saying anything negative about him and his preaching, and they create this false definition in order to manipulate the church members and to make them fearful of questioning anything he does. This is not right and does not create a wholesome New Testament church atmosphere. The pastor must remember that he not to lord it over God’s people. “Neither as being lords over Gods heritage, but being ensamples to the flock” (1 Peter 5:3). According to this passage, the pastor needs to be more concerned about providing a godly example to the flock than lording it over them. This does not mean, of course, that the pastor does not have more authority than others in church. He does have authority (Heb. 13:17). What we are referring to here is the abuse of that authority. Even the Apostle Paul, who had greater authority than any pastor today, said, “Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand” (2 Cor. 1:24).


WARNING OF SIN AND ERROR IS NOT GOSSIP


Marking false teachers and warning about compromisers is not gossip or slander. Paul warned of false teachers and compromisers by name no less than ten times in 1 and 2 Timothy alone. If a church leader publicly teaches error or commits a serious sin that would disqualify him or otherwise does something that people should be warned about, it is not gossip or slander for men of God to describe the problem publicly. I have often been charged with being a slanderer or a busybody when I have named men such as Billy Graham or Jerry Falwell or James Dobson and have warned about their errors. Actually I have the right and responsibility as a preacher to mark those who depart from the Word of God. I do not have to get their permission to do so, and I do not have to approach them first. If their error is public and persistent, my responsibility is to warn of them publicly, just as Paul did in regard to Hymenaeus and Alexander (1 Tim. 1:20), Phygellus and Hermogenes (2 Tim. 1:15), Hymenaeus and Philetus (2 Tim. 2:17), Demas (2 Tim. 4:10), and Alexander the coppersmith (2 Tim. 4:14-15). Slander is spreading ill founded, untrue things about others with the intent to injure them. Warning about error in Christian charity for the sake of protecting God’s people from that error is not slander nor is it gossip.


ADMONISHING ONE ANOTHER IS NOT GOSSIP


Romans 15:14 says, “And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.” Christians have an obligation to admonish one another to serve the Lord. This involves watching over one another and exhorting one another about things that would hinder our walk with Christ (Heb. 3:13; 10:24, 25). This ministry should not be confused with gossip. In some churches, though, this is exactly what happens. If a mature church member attempts to admonish and correct other church members, he or she can be labeled as a gossip and a troublemaker and a busybody in other men’s affairs. Admonishing others requires maturity and godliness (Rom. 15:14), but it is a legitimate duty of mature church members. It is not something that is to be left strictly to the pastor. Titus 2:3-5 describes how older women in the church are to teach and admonish younger women. I have known of churches, though, in which older women have gotten into trouble for attempting to exercise this ministry in a godly and scriptural manner. They were told that it was strictly up to the pastor to correct and disciple younger women about their personal lives and homes, but that is certainly not what the Bible says. There is a ministry of correction that is to be exercised by church members. I recall a situation in a church in which a young man was admonished by some mature church members to quit his job at a wicked movie theater for the sake of his own spiritual wellbeing and for the sake of other young people in the church who were watching his example. When he refused to follow this counsel and he quit the church in a huff, those who admonished him from the Word of God were branded as the troublemakers. In fact, they were exercising the legitimate biblical ministry of admonition among church members.


These examples illustrate that it is necessary to make a clear biblical distinction between gossip and legitimate Christian endeavors.


Updated and enlarged January 10, 2006 (first published June 5, 1999) (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, fbns@wayoflife.org


Way of Life Literature. Copyright 1997-2001.

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Here is some more insight from various sources,

many I have forgotten the original place they are from:

(If you are the one it is from, let me know, and I will

give you the credit, or sorrowfully remove it)

______________________________


Let us look to scripture to see what gossip is and is not. First, to illustrate what gossip is not, consider the following questions, the answers to which should be obvious.


    * Was Paul gossiping when he reported Peter’s dramatic failure in Gal 2:11?


    * Was Luke gossiping when he tells the debilitating and embarrassing story of Peter’s triple denial of Jesus "behind his back"? (Luke 22:55-62)


    * Do you think Mark got permission from John and James (sort of "cult" reputation-protection style) before writing of their misguided passion to "be first"? (Mark 10:35-44)


    * Perhaps Luke secured "rights" to disclose the whisperings at the Last Passover to all of creation in Luke 22:24? What do you think?


    * Was Jesus gossiping when he said "negative" things behind the backs of Herod (Mk 8:15), the Pharisees, (Mt 12:38-40) the Teachers of the Law (Lk 20:45), and the Sadducees (Mt 16:6)? Was it gossip for Jesus to warn His disciples against false teachers and prophets, etc., when these teachers and prophets weren’t around?


    * When Chloe reported to Paul about the “divisions”, “party-spirit”, and “man-following” carnality of the Corinthians, did Paul rebuke her for gossiping, or receive this news as from the Lord and base a several chapters of Holy Scripture on this “negative” report? (1Cor 1:11)


Clearly, we should not be defining “gossip” in such a way that would accuse and besmirch Chloe, the holy Apostles, Scripture, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit! For God is light and He reveals and discloses true things--both positive and negative things--hidden in darkness, and this is most definitely not "gossip". And those who follow Him will become like Him.

____________________________


What Gossip is Not


To understand this issue, we must first come to a proper definition of what is gossip, and what is not.  Only then can we take the proper steps to avoid the destruction of this plague.


A Good Report


Is it always wrong to speak to others about another person?  Is it wrong to pass on something that is worthy of praise?  Let us turn to the Word of God for the answer.


We must understand that a good report is worthy of our attention.  Reflect on Philippians 4:8 which teaches us, Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.


The Apostle Paul provides us with many examples of passing on a good report from the Word of God.  Consider what he wrote in Chapter 4 of Colossians.  Verse 7 teaches us, "All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellowservant in the Lord:"  Not only did Paul teach us that it was worthy to publicly praise a brother in the faith, but that he expected Tychicus to actually pass on the news about Paul’s ministry.


Take into account what Paul wrote next:  Colossians 4:8-13

8 Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that he might know your estate, and comfort your hearts;  9 With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They shall make known unto you all things which are done here.  10 Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister’s son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;)  11 And Jesus, which is called Justus, who are of the circumcision. These only are my fellowworkers unto the kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me.  12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.    13 For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis.


We can only conclude from the Bible that it is right to pass on that which is praiseworthy about a brother or sister in the faith.  This is not gossip and is not sin, but this is actually what we should be doing!


A Word of Encouragement


Continuing in the same passage in the book of Colossians, we learn something interesting in verse 17 of Chapter 4.  Notice with me what we read, And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.

 Apparently Paul felt that Archippus needed some encouragement to complete the ministry that Christ had for him, and he had no problem passing this message on publicly.  Clearly the motive was love, and unmistakably Paul wanted only what was best for Archippus and for the church of Jesus Christ.  The letters to Timothy and Titus give us great examples that, as followers of Jesus Christ, we should strive to embolden our brothers and sisters in the faith to complete the service to Christ to which they have been called.


Protecting the Church


Should Elders in the church ever speak about the people entrusted to their care, other than a word of encouragement or in praise?  The answer from the Word of God is yes.  Consider 2 Timothy 4:14-15, 14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works:  15 Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words.

Paul was having trouble with Alexander.  It is clear that he was not listening and was damaging the ministry of Christ.  Did Paul have the love of Christ for this man?  I must think that he did.  Nevertheless, Paul’s greater mandate was to protect the ministry of Jesus Christ.  The church is too precious to be allowed to be destroyed by one (or a few) rotten apples.  Paul did not seek revenge, but rather sought for the Lord to repay this man.  Notice though, that Paul did name the troublemaker, and told Timothy to steer clear of such a dangerous man.


In case you might think that 2 Timothy is an isolated instance, think of Paul’s words in 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15, 14 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.   15 Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.

  In this situation we see unmistakably that those who were in disobedience were to be clearly warned that the path they were on was in rebellion to the Lord.  The church was told to pay attention to those who were in disobedience to the Word of God, and to not keep company with those people.  Not only was Paul concerned about the brother and sister who had strayed into disobedience, but he was concerned about their impact upon the entire church.


Another passage that we should turn to is found in Acts Chapter 20.  Verse 17 teaches us that Paul was gathered together with the Elders of the church of Ephesus at the city of Miletus.  Take note of what he said in verses 28-31,  28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.  29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.  30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.  31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.


Paul was warning this group of men that wolves come in and attack the church, not sparing the people of God.  At the same time, he warned them that men would rise up within the church looking to draw away the Lord’s sheep.  What must this group of men do?  They were told to watch, to be on guard for men or women who will attack the Church of Christ.  Since the Bible is abundantly clear that the church is to be led by a plurality of Elders, the only logical conclusion we can make is that these men must talk in private amongst themselves about these situations.  It should never be to slander, and always in a spirit of love.  It should never be to gossip, but to watch for the attacks of Satan upon the Church of Christ.


What is Gossip


Despite what you may think, gossip is pretty easy to define.  Chances are, you have probably been guilty of gossip in the past.  James 3:8 says, "But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison."


Let us begin our understanding of what gossip is, by looking to Matthew Chapter 18.  Suppose someone in the church has wronged you; what should you do?  Verse 15 has the answer.  It tells us, 15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.


Pay close attention to this verse, because it teaches us more than you might think.  First notice if your brother sins against you then go to that person and that person only.  If the person has sinned against your friend in the church, but your friend has not bothered going to that person, then you have no business hearing about it.  Truth be told, if your friend has not gone to the person, then you should not even listen.  If you sit down and listen to the person that has a complaint against another believer, then you are actually the one guilty of gossip!  In fact, you both are guilty of gossip at this point.


Notice the goal of the entire situation is to gain our brother; this is love.  Love should always be the motive.  The wording of this verse suggests to us that our brother in the faith may not even know that he did something wrong.  Paul taught this same thing in Galatians 6:1 where he wrote, 1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.


Only if our brother or sister does not listen to us should we go to another believer in the faith about the situation.  This is what Jesus teaches us in verses 16-17, 16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.  17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.


When our hearts are truly looking out for the best interests of our brother or sister in the faith, we should be carefully examining our own hearts, making sure that in all things our motive is love.  Slander seeks to destroy, love seeks to restore.  We should make sure that we are keeping the number of people involved down to the smallest possible circle, and only include those who are involved in being a part of the solution.  To do otherwise, would be gossip.


The Warning


Imagine you are called to a court case to be a witness of an accident.  As you take the stand a lawyer begins to ask you what you saw.  Since you did not actually see the accident happen for yourself, you begin to describe what your friend has told you happened.  Before you get very far the lawyer for the other side yells out, “Objection, hearsay.”  In other words, you didn’t witness the event, and you can only provide hearsay of what happened.  The court is not looking for this type of evidence, because it knows that it is actually just gossip.  The courts will only convict men based on evidence and by witness testimony, not hearsay.


The church must pay attention to this important lesson.  We must not try to condemn our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ based only on what our friends have told us.  This is gossip, and is actually bearing a false witness against our fellow believer in Jesus Christ.  The warning from the Word of God is clear.  Proverbs 6:19 tells us that the Lord hates, 19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.


Wisdom to Apply From God’s Word


Prov 16:28  A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.  11:13 A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.   18:8 The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.  20:19  He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips.  Prov 26:20  Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.