The Psalm writer wrote: Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law. As we come before a Holy God and hear his word, may we have eyes open to the wonderful and fearful things from his law. May it move us to repent and seek forgiveness, fear disobedience, and live in light of the grace we have received. This is the word of God. It is eternally true and applicable for all of life.
Proverbs 27:21-27 The crucible is for silver and the furnace for gold, And each is tested by the praise accorded him. Though you pound a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain, Yet his foolishness will not depart from him. Know well the condition of your flocks, And pay attention to your herds; For riches are not forever, Nor does a crown endure to all generations. When the grass disappears, the new growth is seen, And the herbs of the mountains are gathered in, The lambs will be for your clothing, And the goats will bring the price of a field, And there will be goats’ milk enough for your food, For the food of your household, And sustenance for your maidens.
I watched a video put out a couple of days ago by evangelist Tony Miano. In the 13 minute clip, you can observe Mr. Miano utilizing God’s Word in presuppositional fashion, quickly pointing out the other gentleman’s folly. He does this over and over. His refutation of the lost man’s assertions were laser like. It was a very clear example of how we are to answer the fool, lest they be wise in their own eyes. What really impressed me, however, was how Mr. Miano repeatedly pointed this man to the cross, the forgiveness of sins found in Christ, and the fact that there was no other name given under heaven that can save us, only Jesus Christ. He didn’t just point out the man’s error and leave him hanging; he wasn’t engaging in verbal judo just to exercise his debate skill. He was truly concerned for the soul of this image bearer of God. At the very end of the video, Mr. Miano, after seeming to get absolutely nowhere in the conversation, politely disengages, recognizing that the message of the cross is foolishness to those that are perishing. Satisfied that the gospel had been shared, believing that God’s Word does not return void, and that he had been faithful to point this man to Christ, he stepped aside before the conversation became about him and his ability to argue and debate. I contrast this encounter with how I have often approached evangelism. If Tony Miano was using God’s Word as a sword, probing with precision, getting to the heart of that man, it would be fair to say that oftentimes, I use God’s Word as a bludgeon, not to pierce a heart, but to crush the opposition. Though you pound a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain, Yet his foolishness will not depart from him. Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never harm me. Is that a true statement? Liberals, in an attempt to squash debate and criticism, are employing a tactic to silence their foes in which speech, language, words themselves, are being portrayed as instruments of violence. Speak truthfully about the border, get painted as a racist that must be re-trained. Agree with 99% of the rest of human history that marriage is between 1 man and 1 woman, you are a homophobe that must be sued into submission. As bible believing Christians, we scoff at the idea that words equal violence. But is there some truth to it? We see in scripture that God’s Word is referred to as a sword, an instrument of violence. We frequently use language to suggest that our prayers, words spoken to our Heavenly Father, are our most potent weapon, an instrument of Holy violence. Let’s be real, we know that God’s Word is active, and sharper than any two edged sword, and when we swing it around, it has the ability to lop off heads. Why then, are we so often careless with how we employ it? I think of the pistol on my hip, sitting securely in its holster. Locked and loaded, ready to rock and roll if the situation warrants. This means, I have to use some serious discernment on when this weapon gets deployed. If I am careless with it, innocent people may get hurt, and I will have to bear the penalty for that. How much more so with the word of God? How often do you engage with foolishness, whether online, on the sidewalk, at work, or within the heart of your own child, and instead of using the Word of God lawfully, as a sword to pierce, it gets used instead as a whip, or a bludgeon, to silence debate and foolishness. The proverb today tells us that this is simply not going to work. Exasperating our children, verbally hammering a fool till they run off with their tail between their legs, crushing you opponent in that online debate, when done apart from God’s Word and the appropriate application of it, is sinful. It’s pride, and arrogance, that believes that our words, apart from God’s Word and the power of the Holy Spirit, can lead fools to repent of their foolishness.
2 Timothy 2:23-26 NASB
But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels.  The Lord's bondservant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged,  with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth,  and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.
Far too often I find myself attempting to utilize Jesus’ righteous anger when table-flipping or calling out pharisees, to justify harshness towards opponents. To be sure, we are not called to shrink back. We are not called to run from a fight. Truth is worth fighting for. Our God is a Man of War, and being created in His image means that we are called to the fight too. However, we are called to fight as Christ fought: to the glory of His Father, saying “Your will be done, not mine”. Observe the encounters that Jesus had with critics and those seeking to argue and debate. They were typically brief, to the point, and when those in opposition were ready to stone Him or throw Him off a cliff, He departed. We do not have to endlessly back and forth with a fool. Remember, in the multitude of words, sin is not lacking. Let us use God’s Word lawfully, as an instrument of precision, with faith in Jesus Christ to give men and women new hearts, and turn from using God’s Word as a pestle and mortar, seeking to smash and grind the foolishness out of the lost and those who are ignorant. Let us kneel and confess how we often mishandle the Word of God.
Heavenly Father, it was with words that everything was brought into existence. Our salvation is through One who is called the Word. Father, You have given us language, written and spoken word, to be able to communicate with one another, and lift up prayers to You. With our tongues we bless You, and with them we curse those created in Your image. Father, we know that it ought not be this way. Far too often we forget that it is Your wrath, Your fury, and Your anger that awaits the unrepentant fool, and in our forgetting, we seek to supplement that with our own wrath. Father, help us to remember that our wrath does not produce the righteousness of God, only the work of the Holy Spirit. Help us to remember that Your Word is a sword which pierces, while our words are merely blunt instruments which fall on deaf ears. Father, please grant us repentance; please help us O Lord in our weakness. Please grant us discerning hearts and tongues which glorify You, elevate Your Son Jesus, and boast only in the cross. Please forgive us for the sins of our mouths, which reflect the abundance of our hearts. It’s in Jesus name that we pray, Amen.
Listen now to the comforting assurance of the grace of God, promised in the gospel to all that believe:
2 Samuel 22: 3-4“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; My savior, You save me from violence. “I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, And I am saved from my enemies.
To all those who thus repent and seek Jesus Christ for their salvation, your sins are forgiven in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Lift up your hearts!
(From the 12/16/18 liturgy of Sovereign King Church. Written by Aaron Sabie.)
Sunday 10:30 AM