Destructive Speech

Destructive Speech 

Daily Reading: (Luke 4:22, Ephesians 4:29):

“All spoke well of Him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from His lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked” (Luke 4:22).

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

The word unwholesome in Ephesians 4:29 actually means rotten, putrid, worthless. Maybe you have heard the expression, that is “rotten of you to say”. Before we speak, we should think about what the purpose is behind what I am about to say. Does it add value? Does it benefit those who listen?

Now let’s look at what was said about Jesus and the words He spoke:

“All spoke well of Him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from His lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked” (Luke 4:22).

Jesus is our example in how we are to build others up according to their needs. You might playback some of Jesus’ words in the New Testament to the Pharisees and think His words didn’t seem to build them up?

Consider the following:

“You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (Matthew 12:34).

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to” (Matthew 23:13).

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are” (Matthew 23:14-15).

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness” (Matthew 23:27).

Jesus said all of that because He is gracious and recognized their need too. He was full of grace and truth and the lives the Pharisees are living are heading them straight toward the path of hell. Their need was salvation, and for them to recognize their own righteousness wasn’t good enough. Love guided Jesus’ actions. Jesus spoke firmly against the deception of Satan out of a desire for people to know truth and find life in Him.

Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount gave us this classic statement: “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, you will certainly not enter the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 5:20).

What always came from Jesus was grace. The definition of grace is that which is for our benefit, favor, gift, it is what strengthens us in faith. It is the exact opposite of putrid, rotten, unwholesome, worthless talk.

What might surprise you is what the people did who had marveled at what Jesus said, how His words are full of grace. “All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. But He walked right through the crowd and went on His way” (Luke 4:28-30).

I want you to know that Jesus gave His life for us. “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father” (John 10:18). The people wanted to kill Jesus and He walked right through the crowd. This is miraculous, one of the miracles of Jesus that no one ever mentions or thinks about. It wasn’t time for Jesus to lay down His life, and so “He walked right through the crowd.”

You know what is really interesting to me is what happened to Jesus before He was in His hometown and the people were amazed at the gracious words, Jesus was first tempted in the wilderness by Satan. What did Jesus do in the Wilderness? He did not merely think about Scripture. He spoke it out loud. He said it is written and quoted Scripture.

In our lives, when we have temptations that come upon us, temptations to be afraid, to worry, to doubt, simply speak out God’s word. By doing so you are receiving His gift of grace, and power to overcome those temptations.

Do you know the words you say can alter the outcome of your situations and in fact, set the direction of your life?

The Bible tells us how the words we speak can open the door to good or evil in our lives. Our words can be grace killers in themselves or usher in our ability to edify others and receive life ourselves. Look at what Proverbs 18:21 says: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” As a believer, every word you utter has tremendous power. With your tongue, you can choose to build (edify) or destroy dreams, heal or break the spirit, bring delight or despair, bless or curse.

We see this principle in action in so many instances in the Bible.

Before they received their miracle child, God changed the names of a childless couple, Abram and Sarai, to Abraham (meaning “father of many nations”) and Sarah (meaning “princess”) just before He told Abraham that from them would come a multitude of nations (Genesis 17:5, 16–17). Abraham and Sarah’s new God-given names caused them to speak faith of what God would do in their lives before He did it. This newfound faith was authored by God in their name change so they might receive God’s promise by faith. It took faith, to introduce yourself as the father of many at age 100 before you have any children.

Somewhere along the way of doing this, Sarah experienced a renewal of youth, her barren womb was resurrected with divine life and conceived the miracle child God had promised them. Our words spoken in line with God’s promises have the power to change our circumstances (Proverbs 18:21, Mark 11:23).

The Temptation of Success

The Temptation of Success

Daily Reading: (Luke 4:42-44): “Now when it was day, He departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowd sought Him and came to Him, and tried to keep Him from leaving them;but He said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.” And He was preaching in the synagogues of Galilee.”

Before Jesus’ Galilean ministry started (Luke 4:14) Satan first tempted Jesus in the wilderness (Luke 4:1-13). Now Jesus would be tempted in different ways through rejection in his hometown (Luke 4:28-29) and then success in the crowd’s desire for Him to stay (Luke 4:42). It was Jesus’ communication with God the Father (Luke 4:42) as He retreated to a desert place that moved Him forward to the next place that God decreed.

Jesus is successful in not falling to the devil’s temptation unlike Adam in the Garden of Eden. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ, shall all be made alive (1 Corinthians 15:22). Jesus Christ is our success.

Our Lord Jesus showed us what to do when we are under attack by the devil. Against each attack, His response was to say, “It is written” (Matthew 4:1–11). Jesus used the Word of God.

The beauty of the simplicity of Luke 4:42 shows us that those who seek Jesus will find Him. Proverbs 8:17: those who seek me find me.” I love how the conditions the people were in (Luke 4:40) is what led the people to seek Jesus. Just as those who are sick will seek out a doctor, we are to seek the Great Physician for our healing. We all know people who seem to be down and out as they are experiencing the effect of sin which is sickness. May those who do not know God’s love or are in need of receiving more revelation of God’s love, may their situation led them to seek Jesus, and the promise is they will find Him. And this finding Christ is a work of God (John 12:32).

The crowds sought Jesus they came to Him and had a request “that he should not depart from them.” The reason I know this is not what God would have of Jesus is that the Greek word used is katechō which means to restrain, hinder (the course or progress of).

“And he said unto them, I must”- (dei)- necessity established by the counsel and decree of God.

How do I know when a good thing is not necessarily the right thing? When we seek God’s counsel we will know how to respond. 

#Saved to Serve

Daily Reading: (Luke 4:38-39 & Luke 5:4-7):

“Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her. So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them.” “One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.”

Salvation is possible when we recognize someone is suffering and in need of salvation and we ask Jesus to help (Luke 4:38).

What is interesting is this story is in all three synoptic Gospels and they all say just about the same thing but there are some unique details to gain from each.

Matthew’s focus is on the touch of Jesus and the fever was gone (Matthew 8:14–15).

In Mark, Jesus took her hand and lifted her up and her fever was gone (Mark 1:29–31).

For Luke, Jesus bent over her and rebuked the fever- and it left her (Luke 4:38–41).

So, three accounts are all slightly different.

Who was right who was wrong? They were all right if you view this as a bunch of snapshots on a camera and place them together to make a movie. Jesus bent over her, rebuked the fever, touched her hand and lifted her up and the fever was gone (Matthew 8:14–15, Mark 1:29–31, Luke 4:38–41).

The other thing of note is what did Peter’s mother-in law do the moment she was healed. “She got up at once and began to wait on them.”

What do ministered to people do? They minister.  Do you know what the word minister means? Diakoneō: ministered/ serve. The title of today’s devotional is saved to serve. That’s what we see here- Peter’s mother-in-law was saved through healing –and then the first thing she does is serve or minister.  Don’t get me wrong- this isn’t a saved to slave. We are saved where we serve in the kingdom as beloved children of God. Servants who minister love, and joy, and peace.

Jesus was not merely teaching the Word of God as He sat in the boat (vv. 1, 3); He was showing something, by His actions and words, about how He means for his followers to win men to faith. By Jesus’ power and authority multitudes of people will be caught for eternal kingdom blessings by the followers of Jesus who teach the Word of God (Luke 5:1-3). People are caught like the fish when we take notice of their condition and we bring Jesus in to help and offer His salvation (the story of Peter’s mother-in-law).

The comparison is between trusting Christ to help you gather fish and trusting Christ to help you gather people. The gathering of people is for rest (Matthew 11:28-30) and joy (John 15:11) and eternal life (John 3:36).

Peter is not brimming with faith. “Master, we worked all night. We know fishing. You don’t. This place is fished out. Besides, we are exhausted. We were up all night.” Oh, how many are the excuses we find for not man-fishing. But isn’t it encouraging that the Lord provides the miracle despite the lack of strength on the part of the fishermen (Luke 5:5).