Humble Orthodoxy

May 30, 2008

“Your words were found, and I ate them, And your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; For I am called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts.” Jeremiah 15:16

While attending the New Attitude conference in Louisville, KY, 2008, there are many provocations and convictions to mention and aspire to. Although the general preaching theme was on the Scriptures, the reading of it, studying, using for Spiritual Warfare, understanding Adoption and so forth, there are other things to mention.

For me, the lack of knowledge of Scripture in a God Glorifying way became more and more apparent after hearing pastors like Josh Harris, Mark Dever, Al Mohler(in Q&A session), John Piper and C.J. Mahaney. I have a lack of discipline in being a consistent student of God’s Word. Although I “read” my bible about everyday, many times I do not read to know God more or to find something new that I haven’t read before, but rather to fulfill a duty, a calling, if I am a Christian. There are many Scriptures that I have memorized to defend the Christian faith Apologetically and to convict of sin. But many times, it is a script. Sometimes there is no life in the way I quote Scripture because I have said them before and again and again. Sometimes, the Bible is only a book.

“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” John 1:1-3

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16,17

The Bible is clearly not only a book. It exactly reflects this world and worldview. It explains the literal creation of life, the fall of you and me in our first parents and portrays the Absolute Sovereignty, Glory and Perfection of God in Jesus Christ. When a Scripture is repeated, God speaks. In the Old Testament, God spoke. In the New Testament, God spoke. By His Spirit today, He speaks….through His Word, to His people.

The Bible is living and active. It is called, “The Word.” Jesus is also called, “The Word.” If you are one of His followers and have been born-again by the Spirit effectually calling you to repentance, then you learn about your God that saved you, through His Word. It is in the reading of The Bible that we realize how utterly puny, rebellious and God-hating we are by nature. The longer we go without reading and meditating upon the eternal truths, the bigger, more confident we feel in ourselves, our sinful nature, this earth. For by nature, we are children of wrath that reflect God’s righteous judgement of sin. But, only by the Grace and Mercy of God in Christ Jesus, we are adopted as sons (Galatians 4:5).

As a Christian, may you literally Treasure the Word of God. Consider yourself blessed if you own one. Many countries in this sin-saturated world will persecute, arrest and even kill people with the Word of God(i.e. Asia,Africa, South America). People don’t hate the Bible because it is just a book, they hate it because it is THE WORD OF GOD that explains the condition of man, the deepest intents of the soul and that it commands all men to repent of sin and believe the Gospel, or perish. The Word of God contains undisputable revelation and propositions.

Although Jesus is the Word, His Word contain His words in the Gospels, speaking more about hell than any other doctrine in the bible. If we aren’t treasuring the Word in our Bibles, thanking God we are able to speak and read it in freedom, then we are simply treasuring something else. If you treasure your Bible, then it is likely that you treasure Christ. But if you do not treasure your Bible, then it is impossible to treasure Christ, for you know about Him by reading about Him. Read your Bibles. Treasure them to Treasure Christ, for they contain the words of eternal life, for the Glory of God.

“Then Jesus said to the twelve, Do you also want to go away?’ But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” John 6:67,68

Something this depraved world, particularly the United States needs to hear about “Christianity” and what the true costs of being a Christian is (humility, sacrifice,giving,dying). Piper brings to life the scenarios with strong conviction that streamlines focus on the Glory of God when we are truly resting in Him instead of believing the, oh so many, lies.

Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.” Matthew 12:33

When one observes an orange, either newly or ripely, sprouting from a tree, it must be concluded that it is an orange tree. When one observes an apple, either newly or ripely, sprouting from a tree, it must be concluded that it is an apple tree. Grape vines produce grapes and nothing else. Fig trees produce figs and nothing else. Orange trees do not produce apples and apple trees do not produce oranges. Simply by the visualization of the fruit, regardless of how large or small, one is able to conclude the type of tree, bush or vine.

Jesus powerfully draws out, in simple context, the spiritual application of compare and contrast. While one does not know the depths of the soul as does Christ, we can visually see and hear the types of “fruit” that another person produces. As a matter of fact, Jesus speaks volumes by saying,
Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. ” Matthew 12:34-35

Are you a Christian? Do you claim to be changed by the Grace of God in Jesus Christ? If so, what are your desires? What do you spend most of your time doing? What do you think about during that time? Although “none do good,” in the eyes of God because of our fallen nature, regeneration will kindle the fire to obey the law of God and find the totality of our affections set upon the way our Savior did things.

In what type of language do you joke or jest? Figuratively, the type of language we use shows the type of “tree” we are by producing the necessary fruit to carry out the actions the words are producing. If I am explaining a coarse joke or responding to a comment full of jest, I am not producing good fruit, but evil fruit, revealing the abundance of my heart. Gossip, slander and the like are simply other forms of showing the abundance or predominance of the heart, by what the mouth speaks. For Jesus says,
For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:37

The abundance of our hearts produce the words that decide our actions. Likewise, the abundance of the fruit on a particular tree decides the type of tree it is, despite similarities on the branches and leaves, i.e. the difference in true spiritual fruit and religiosity. This abolishes any Antinomian thought of “free grace” without a changed life.

Why are words so important? God has decreed that His Word is what saves a sinners soul. It is the means to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As believers, our interests and participations cannot be divided so that our words affect our actions to the detriment of a soul. Paul speaks,
“Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for the necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” Ephesians 4:29-30
May your soul contemplate the words in which you speak, to the edification of believers so that they may walk in Grace and for the salvation of a soul that has not yet been transformed by Grace through faith. You, born-again believer, are the example our Creator has chosen to use to speak His Word with boldness and the power of the Holy Spirit. May the abundance of your heart reveal the words to the saving of a soul, for the Glory of God in Christ Jesus. I leave with the convicting reality of the words of James,

“For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father; and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.” James 3:7-12