Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Not suitable

But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. – Ephesians 5.3-4

There are certain things that just don’t suit God’s people. There should not even be a hint of them. Paul gives a short list of things here are so serious that should ‘not once be named among us.’

The part to the list that really grabs my attention today is those things at the end of the verse.

Filthiness
Foolish talking
Jesting

These things are ‘not convenient.’ Literally, they don’t suit us and all have to do with our words. It should be obvious that Christians should not be involved with filthy talk, but there us a growing tendency today to even make excuses for that. Foul language, dirty language, whatever we choose to call it seems to be more and more accepted in the church and from the pulpit. Filthiness is just that. It is dirty talk and there is clearly no place for it in the heart or mouth of keyboard of God’s people.

Foolish taking is vain and empty talk that accomplishes nothing. It is wasteful talk and stuff that is said just to be heard. It’s the kind of stuff that crams social media where everyone has the chance to show their foolishness. We have to be careful not to be dragged into it because God holds us accountable for our words.

The word translated jesting is coarse joking. This isn’t that dirty talk – it is just that coarseness that permeates speech. It is the little ‘wink, wink, nod, nod’ that is not to excite and titillate without ever really saying the dirty words. It is the kind of thing that we Christian can do all the time and get that silly little giggle.

God’s people have no room for any of this stuff. Instead we are called to be thanksgivers. This world’s talk does need us to add fuel to the fire. Instead we would make a real mark if we gave thanks for all that God does for us.

An awful lot of us need to reprioritise our speech to honour God.

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Christlove


Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. – Ephesians 5.1-2

One clear aspect of being a follower of God is to walk in love. That’s fine, but the standard of love can be a challenge. How much love are we called to walk in?

Walk in love in the same way that Christ walk and gave Himself for us.

That kind of love is quite a test. I think we all strive to love each other and I think we can do a pretty good job, buy to walk in the kind of love with which Jesus loves us is a whole nother kettle of fish.

Christlove is a love that is willing to give our all. It is a willingness to ‘lay down our life’ for others. It is a ‘hold nothing back’ kind of love. Christlove is the true picture of agape love which is willing to give it all up for others.

Of all things that characterise our lives I wonder how often it is the love of Christ. When people see me do they think about the kind of loving man I am? Do they think ‘that Roger just loves everyone?’

Christlove has a major test. It led Jesus to lay down His life for us.

Who am I willing to die for? That is the real test, isn’t it? If I am willing to lay down my life I must surely be willing to lay down my whims and desires and my agenda for the sake of others.

I do we do when it comes to Christlove? Do our lives show that same sweetsmelling savour? 

Monday, 27 January 2020

Follow God

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. – Ephesians 5.1-2

Be followers of God as dear children. That’s quite a challenge isn’t it? Our lives are to show Him to the world around us because there is no way for them to see Him except through our lives.

Many years ago in the US there was an anti-smoking ad. It showed a father and son together at home. When Dad cut the grass, the young son played with his toy lawnmower. When dad washed the car the little boy used a water gun to squirt the care. When the dad had a cold drink, the little guy had a cold drink. Then the dad picked up a pack of cigarettes and set it down – and the little guy reached over for it.

Though that is a very negative image of following it does show that young children learn from parents. They little boy followed what the dad did. We though, as children of God, ought always to follow His example. Only by following God can we show the world the way to our God.

There are plenty of distractions for us to follow. Most of them our not bad in and of themselves. We follow sports teams. We follow our career paths. We follow our families.

Then there are bad things to follow. We can follow our flesh and follow our desires and our lusts.

None of these things are the path we ought to follow if we are trying to lead people to our God. Our lives must honour our God so that they are drawn to Him. We say we are Christians but of we are not following Christ no one is going to see Him. We follow His example in love and holiness and righteousness and kindness and humility. We don’t pursue the ways of the world. Instead we seek to lean men to Jesus.

Where are you and I leading people today?

Sunday, 26 January 2020

Just stop fighting


Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. – Ephesians 4.31-32

One of the things that saddens me most about the church is our proclivity to fight each other at the drop of hat. There are some things that we just should not do and Jesus tells us that the world will know that we are His disciples by the love we have and manifest to each other.

I hate to keep bad mouthing social media, because I do like it and I use and I think it can be useful for the ministry, but at the same time I have seen it destroy friendships because for some reason folks seem to think it is okay to say things on social media that you would never say anywhere else. There is not such things as level headed discussions. Every post seems to become a fight – even among believers. Things seem to be posted to antagonise or provoke or cause a row so it gets plenty of comments and plenty of likes.
And yet here the church has to be told to put away or lay aside bitterness and wrath and clamour and evil speaking and malice. We are told to replace it with kindness and tender-heartedness and forgiveness. Any why?

Because, after all, God has forgiven us.

When I think of how God has forgiven me how can I not forgive my brothers and sisters in Christ? How can I not have a tender heart and not be filled with kindness?

Honestly, is my life marked by bitterness and anger and wrath and those kinds of things, or is it marked by love and kindness and forgiveness? It’s pretty clear cut, isn’t it.

Saturday, 25 January 2020

Don't grieve the Spirit


And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. – Ephesians 4.30

It is easy to think that division and quarrelling and harsh words and ‘corrupt communication’ only affect the parties involved. When we think about it though everyone around is also affected and it spreads like and cancer and the fights and divisions spread.

But that’s not the focus here. Someone else is affected that we don’t even think about.

That kind of attitude grieves the Holy Spirit of God. In other words, if we can’t get along we break God’s heart.

How sad it is when we think about breaking God’s heart. Here especially we read about the Holy Spirit sealing us till the day of our salvation is complete. He keeps us saved and instead of gratitude we can act like jerks toward each other and be self-centred, self-serving, and selfish at the cost of our relationships with each other.

Our fights and quarrels don’t just hurt each other, the hurt God as well.

Can’t we just stop the nonsense?

Friday, 24 January 2020

No corrupt communication

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. – Ephesians 4.29

Our words have great power and a powerful impact. Whoever said ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never harm me was a liar. Words hurt far worse than ‘sticks and stones’ and do far more long lasting damage.

Yet it seems like the church has fallen right in line with the world in excelling in corrupting language. It is especially obvious now with social media making so much visible. We say things on Facebook we would never say in person. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth could well say let no corrupt communication proceed on your Twitter feed or in your Facebook posts.

Corrupt communication is anything that defiles or hurts. Communication can corrupt friendships and churches and homes and anywhere else we are involved with others and with a media like Facebook it spreads faster than ever.

Instead our communication, be it verbal, written or electronic should be used for edification, for support, for building up. Our communication should minister grace to those who hear it.

Think of it. What kind of mark could I make on this world if my communication was never corrupt, but always marked by grace and edification. What a force for good and for God I could be.


Thursday, 23 January 2020

Work so we can give

Lest him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. – Ephesians 4.28

Why do you and I work? Why do we punch that clock or log in on the computer or get just get to work on our own? Why do we commute back and forth on the roads? Why do we travel or set up home offices or go to the classroom or the shop or whatever it is our job to do?

To put food on the table
To pay our bills
To provide for our families
To buy more stuff
To travel and holiday

Sure, all that and more.

But I’ll bet there is something we don’t normally thing about.

How about the notion that we work and earn wages so that we can give to those in need?

What? Is that really in there? I’m supposed to go to my job and earn my pay in order to give it away to somebody else? Really?

Well, that’s what is says here in black and white. It requires a whole rethink on jobs and possessions and priorities, doesn’t it? There is nothing wrong with having stuff. There is nothing wrong with having nice stuff.

The problem is when we never consider that part of why we earn money is to give it away to those who need it. God’s people are His way to take care of people. God rarely just gives people money or sets groceries in their house. He wants us to do it and He gives us work to pay for it.

I think we all need to examine our financial priorities.