For Men Shall Be… Blasphemers …

For Men Shall Be… Blasphemers …

The apostle Paul warned Timothy, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers …” (2 Tim. 3:1-2, ESV, emp. added).

Blasphemers... do we speak evil of Good... complain and grumble?

Blasphemers… do we speak evil of Good… complain and grumble?

“Blasphemers” comes from the Greek term blasphemos, which literally means, “speaking evil, slanderous, reproachful, railing, abusive.”  So Paul was warning of those who would speak evil, who would be slanderous and reproachful, who would be railing, people who would be abusive.

The enemies of Stephen used this same word to falsely accuse him of blasphemy against the law of Moses, God, and the temple…and in doing so they were ironically guilty of the very thing they accused him of doing (Acts 6:11, 13).  We therefore see how it is possible to blaspheme men, to slander or speak evil of others, to be reproachful of brethren or to rail against them, and to be verbally abusive towards them.

Paul also used this same word to describe himself before he was converted, when he was a blasphemer and persecutor of Christ and the church.  By doing so, he shows us how it is possible to blaspheme God as well.  Normally that’s what we think of when we think of blasphemy.  I would like to challenge the reader to consider how we can blaspheme our fellow man as well, especially in the context of discussing church leadership.

Our Lord commanded us to put away “slander,” along with anger, wrath, malice, obscene talk from our mouths, and lying (Col. 3:8-9).  Slander (blasphemia) literally means, “slander, detraction, injurious speech, to another’s good name; impious and reproachful speech injurious to divine majesty.”  It is no coincidence that it is listed right alongside of anger, wrath, malice, obscene talk, and lying.  Why would we slander someone, speak reproachfully and detractingly about them, or try to injure them with our words?  Why gossip about them, or unrighteously criticize them and spout off at them?  Why insult them?  Because of anger, wrath and malice.  We’re mad at them.  We hate them.

Brethren, we’re Christians.  And as Christians we are called upon to be different from the world.  We are commanded to let no “corrupting talk” come out of our mouths.  Instead, we are to allow “only such as is good for building up…that it may give grace to those who hear” (Eph. 4:29).  Do we really want to be the type of Christians condemned by James, people whose tongues are proven to be “a restless evil, full of deadly poison,” who use our tongues to bless God one minute and curse each other the next?  (James 3:8-10)  Because if we ARE that type of Christian, we need to know that our religion is “worthless” in the sight of God (James 1:26).

This brings me to Titus 3:1-2:  “Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.”  “To speak evil” (blasphemeo) literally means, “to blaspheme, revile.  To hurt the reputation or smite with reports or words, speak evil of, slander, rail.”  Notice how God lists the command to avoid this sin right alongside the command to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient and ready for every good work, to avoid arguing, and to be gentle and show perfect courtesy to everyone.

You know, it is very easy to speak evil of rulers and authorities rather than be submissive and obedient to them when we disagree with them.  We currently have many leaders in our government who act in very ungodly ways and promote many ungodly things.  As Christians, we are obligated to obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29) and oppose all ungodliness while exposing it for what it is (Eph. 5:11).  If the President, Congress, or the Supreme Court command us to do something that violates God’s Word, we are not obligated to obey them.  That said, many Christians seem to think that having a blatantly ungodly man in office gives them a free license to not only speak out against what he’s promoting that is ungodly, but also to blaspheme the man personally by insulting him as a person.  Yet, God inspired Paul to tell Christians who were living under the rule of Nero, a man for more ungodly than any American president, governor, or congressman, to be submissive while speaking evil/blaspheming no one (Tit. 3:1-2), and to be subject to the governing authorities while giving respect and honor to them (Rom. 13:1, 7).  Not only is it possible, it is also commanded for Christians to still show respect and honor to a governing authority while at the same time actively standing against whatever policies he promotes which are ungodly and/or with which we disagree.

This not only applies to the government.  Take the leadership in the church and in the home.  Wives are commanded to submit to their husbands AND respect them (Eph. 5:22-24, 33).  Children are commanded to obey AND honor their parents (Eph. 6:1-3).  Christians are commanded to obey the bishops of the church and submit to them (Heb. 13:17) AND respect them and esteem them very highly in love (1 Thess. 5:12-13).

In these cases, the principle of Acts 5:29 also applies.  Wives are not obligated to obey their husbands in something sinful.  Children are not obligated to obey their parents if their parents want them to disobey God.  Brethren are not obligated to obey elders if the elders are promoting false doctrine.

However, what about when husbands, parents, and elders ask of us something that is completely scriptural…but we just happen to disagree with it and have a different opinion about it?  Over the years, I’ve observed more and more Christians blaspheme these authoritative figures in their lives and not even know it.

In more and more homes wives are either refusing outright to submit to their husbands or they’re doing so with a complete lack of respect…and in either case they blaspheme – speak evil against – their husbands while doing so.  Wives, that’s not respecting your husbands (Eph. 5:33).  That’s blaspheming your spouse!

More and more children are either outright refusing to obey their parents while blaspheming them, or else they obey while refusing to honor their parents by slandering and grumbling against them.  Children, that’s not honoring your parents (Eph. 6:2).  That’s speaking evil against your parents who brought you into this world!

And in the church, friends…even in doctrinally sound churches which promote healthy teaching about the gospel, worship and morality…there is a growing problem of blaspheming the eldership, speaking evil and railing against them when brethren disagree with them over a matter of expediency, opinion, and personal judgment.  Christians, that’s not respecting those who are over you in the Lord and esteeming them very highly in love because of their work (1 Thess. 5:12-13).  That’s not letting the leadership of the church keep watch over your souls with joy and not with groaning (Heb. 13:17).  No, that’s blaspheming your fellow brothers in Christ who are trying to keep watch over your souls and help you grow spiritually!

American brethren, I know we value our freedom of speech and expression…but the Constitution doesn’t trump the New Testament!  It’s one thing to disagree with the government, one’s spouse, one’s parents, or an eldership with respect and love.  It’s quite another to do so while blaspheming them.  To disagree with respect and honor is a sign of maturity, love, self-control, and having the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23).  To disagree blasphemously by speaking evil against them and railing against them shows nothing but worldliness, spiritual immaturity, and that you’re on a road you don’t want to be on…a road that leads to hell.

What’s especially terrifying about this is that we don’t realize that we blaspheme GOD when we blaspheme our brethren in the church, whether they be elders or not!  Look at Paul.  He referred to himself as a blasphemer before he became a Christians…but what was he doing during that time?  He was persecuting the church.  Yet, according to Jesus Paul was actually persecuting HIM (Acts 9:4).

Therefore, we are blaspheming and hurting GOD when we purposefully blaspheme and hurt our brethren.  Think about that for a minute.  We speak evil against the elders or that brother or sister we don’t like and in the process blaspheme our Lord and Redeemer…but that’s not all.  We are also causing division and contention in the church, something which God hates (Prov. 6:16-19) and causes the church to become weaker before breaking the congregation apart completely.  And because we spend our time doing that, guess what we’re NOT doing?  We’re NOT shining as lights in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation because we’re too busy grumbling and complaining (Phil. 2:14-15).  We’re NOT spreading the gospel in this lost world because we’re too focused either starting or putting out small fires of pettiness in the home and in the church, and we wonder why the church isn’t growing and our country and world is growing farther and farther away from God…

            And Satan is laughing and laughing and laughing…

What’s the solution?  How are we to react to blasphemy against us or our brethren?  How are we to repent of our own blasphemy should we be guilty of it?

We must keep our conduct excellent and let our light shine among everyone with whom we come in contact, both in the church, outside of the church, and in the home (1 Pet. 4:12; Matt. 5:16).  We must consciously choose to treat EVERYONE the way we would want to be treated (Matt. 7:12); if everyone in the church did that, no blasphemy, gossip, or backbiting would exist and the gospel would be proclaimed to every single person on earth.  We must hold fast to God’s Word in all aspects of our lives and in our relationships with everyone rather than grumble or complain (Phil. 2:14-16).  When we encounter a brother or sister who speaks evil against someone, we must gently correct them rather than joining in or keeping silent (Gal. 6:1-2; 2 Tim. 2:24-26), and if need be withdraw fellowship from them (1 Cor. 5:11-13; Matt. 18:15-17).  Do this, and we WILL shine as lights in the middle of this dark, blasphemous world!

Posted in Jon Mitchell | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on For Men Shall Be… Blasphemers …

Prepared for War

Prepared for War

In 1 Chronicles 12 we read of men who were prepared to go to war. They were “armed with bows, and could use both the right hand and the left in hurling stones and shooting arrows out of a bow” (v. 2) and “men of war fit for the battle, that could handle shield and buckler, whose faces were like the faces of lions, and were as swift as the roes upon the mountains” (v. 8).

Are you prepared to "war a good warfare" ?

Are you prepared to “war a good warfare” ?

We need such men in the church today who can stand against Satan and defend the church and truth against error, sin, and every spiritual attack. We must remember that we are in a spiritual battle and need to be prepared in order to “war a good warfare” (1 Timothy 1:18). Far too few Christians are equipped and ready to yield the sword of the Spirit and the shield of faith (Ephesians 6:10–18). Are you actively training? Are you faithful?

Posted in Tim Dooley | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Prepared for War

The Arrows of God

The Arrows of God

In our day of modern warfare, when a skilled sniper can kill an enemy from two miles away, we tend to forget in Bible times how devastating a skilled marksman could be with nothing more than his bow and quill filled with arrows. An unexpected volley of arrows from a troop of warriors could bring immediate death when it arrived.

He makes His arrows into fiery shafts.

He makes His arrows into fiery shafts.

One event from ancient history illustrates this so well. Alexander the Great came against the enormous Persian army and was told that when the Persians shot their arrows there were so many that it would darken the sun. (Such did not faze Alexander. He replied, “Wonderful, today we get to fight in the shade”). The constant threat of death from the arrows of the enemy is why the Bible describes the wrath of God using the imagery of His arrows.

In the seventh Psalm, David described the anger of the Lord manifesting His justice. “God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day…He bends His bow and makes it ready…He also prepares for Himself instruments of death; He makes His arrows into fiery shafts.” There is no way to compare the arrows of the Persian army and the fiery arrows of the army of God. In the midst of great adversity, David found such peace when he thought of God’s arrows.

The eighteenth psalm was penned by David on the very day God delivered him from all of his enemies, especially King Saul (2 Sam. 22:1). In his destress, the shepherd boy had cried out to God, and his cry entered into the ears of God. Read the words of the psalmist in the vivid, poetic words given by the Holy Spirit. “He heard my voice…the earth shook and trembled…because He was angry. Smoke went up from His nostrils, and devouring fire from His mouth…The Lord thundered from heaven, and the Most High uttered His voice.”

Then, David mentioned the arrows of the Lord. “He sent out His arrows and scattered the foe, lightning in abundance.” Who has not been startled by the flashing of lightning and its attendant thunder! David saw these as manifestations of God’s arrows coming to his deliverance. Forget the Persian arrows, forget the arrows of Saul’s army—God comes to the aid of His children who call out to Him.

Do you want to be find peace when surrounded by life’s storms? Just take time to read about God’s arrows prepared to come to your aid. Let me also suggest that when you see the lightning and hear the thunder in the summer storms and those preceding hurricanes and tornados you take time to look at them as David did. God’s arrows are awaiting your cry for His help. Meditate on these things.

Posted in Dan Jenkins | Tagged , | Comments Off on The Arrows of God