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November 18, 2007 AM

JAS 3:5

INTRO: It is not very flattering to be called a "gossip". And one who gossips probably does not think of himself as a "gossip". Perhaps he thinks of himself as a "reporter" ... sharing interesting news of the day. I know, too, that each of us has an interest in what is happening to others, and we think that by sharing that information in conversation there is little or no harm done. The truth is, though, that what we may say innocently and/or in confidence has a way of sprouting wings to spread far beyond what we intended. Over years of time, I have heard myself being "quoted" by people and in places ... and I've been surprised to hear both my name mentioned and the "slant" which was given to what I was supposed to have said or done. An evil of our day must be lack of real concern for what we say in conversation.

    1. The texts to note:
      1. Lev 19:16 - "thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer..."
      2. Prov 11:13 - "a talebearer revealeth secrets..."
      3. Prov 18:8 - "the words of a talebearer are as wounds..."
      4. Prov 20:19 - "he that goeth about as a talebearer..."
      5. Prov 26:20 - "where there is no talebearer, the strife ceases"
      6. Prov 26:22 - "the words of a talebearer are as wounds..."
    2. What can we learn about the tales of a talebearer? a gossip?
      1. talebearing is forbidden among God's people - God knows its harm
      2. a talebearer is not careful about confidences - reveals "juicy" details
      3. a talebearer's tales are invariably hurtful ... wounding in nature
      4. we need to be very careful about one to whom we reveal information - we need to be sure he is not a meddler
      5. gossip is often at the root of strife and dissension - even if the gossip stops, the damage that is done often cannot be repaired!
      6. problems with gossip: it is usually filled with  inaccuracies, out of context, grows larger by the telling, embellished by the teller, without good intentions, about someone other than the teller, unnecessary
    1. From James, the Lord's brother?
      1. Jas 3:5- gossip has the power to ignite a great conflagration
      2. in a family, among friends, at the workplace, within the church...
      3. Prov 16:28 - an illustration of what gossip can do! and does!
      4. the solution of James? Jas 1:19 - "...slow to speak..."
    2. From the Lord?
      1. Mt 12:36,37 - accountability!
      2. talebearing (gossip, whispering) is evil
      3. so, think about Mt 12:35 - if you are engaged in spreading "tales", what does that say about your heart?
      4. so, Prov 21:23 - we need to think carefully about our words - during WWII there was the saying "Loose Lips Sink Ships" - what will our words start?
    3. From the apostle Paul?
      1. 1 Tim 5:13 - "...tattlers...busybodies...speaking things...they ought not"
      2. see also 2 Thes 3:11 - "busybody" ... to be a meddler (1 Pet 4:15)
      3. we probably use the word "busybody" in much the same way ... one who meddles in the affairs of others (either directly or via gossip and talebearing)
      4. in 1 Tim 5:13 those words "tattler" and "speaking things which they ought not" certainly imply "gossip"
    1. Prov 10:19 - Here is the advice of inspiration
      1. it is true that in too much talk the opportunity for sin increases
      2. the solution is fairly simple - refrain from talking too much
      3. Prov 17:27,28
    2. So, practically speaking?
      1. refuse to speak of things which are none of my business
      2. refuse to be involved in conversations which are "gossip oriented"
      3. if there is a question to be answered, go to the person about whom the question is - or, who is the principal involved and get reliable, dependable information ... otherwise, the matter stops and is dropped
      4. be sure that your tongue is a "tree of life" (Prov 15:4)

CLOSE: How many people have been hurt because of gossip? How many situations have been made complicated and serious because of loose lips? The answer? Too many! Are we gossips? That question needs to be answered.

Cecil A. Hutson

18 November 2007

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)