Thursday, September 03, 2015

Resisting Gossip: Winning the War of the Wagging Tongue



New!

Resisting Gossip was released on September 3, 2013 by CLC Publications.

Learn More

Preview, download, and read the endorsements, table of contents, foreword by Ed Welch of CCEF, introduction, and first chapter here.

Order Today

Resisting Gossip is available through these and other booksellers:

Amazon

CLC Book Center

ChristianBook.com

WTSBooks.com

Next Step Resources

and in a growing list of e-book formats.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Lesson #4. "Believing the Best"

I'm pleased to present Lesson #4 of the Resisting Gossip Teaching Series.


Resisting Gossip Teaching Series: Lesson 4 from Third Brother Films on Vimeo.

Introduction

Most, if not all, sinful gossip includes the sin of judgmentalism. Before we bear bad news behind someone’s back, our bad hearts have already passed sentence upon that person. Join Pastor Matt Mitchell as he teaches about three main ways that we often go wrong in judging others and how we can grow in believing the best about others instead.

On Location

This is an actual courtroom near where we live. Spencer Folmar, our filmmaker, worked very hard to find authentic locations. This location fit perfectly with the sin of judging others.

Please Share

Don't forget that these ten videos are all free for streaming, downloading, and sharing. Please pass them on to whomever you think will profit from them. Each film is specifically designed to be used in conjunction with a chapter in Resisting Gossip and a lesson from the new companion book Resisting Gossip Together which comes out on October 7th.

Tomorrow, we'll release lesson #5: "Instead of Gossip: Speaking."



Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Lesson #3. "A Gallery of Gossips"

I'm pleased to present Lesson #3 of the Resisting Gossip Teaching Series.


Resisting Gossip Teaching Series: Lesson 3 from Third Brother Films on Vimeo.

Introduction

Do you know a gossip when you meet one? More often than not, the Bible defines a gossip as a kind of person, not as a kind of speech. It is something you are, not just something you do. Join Pastor Matt Mitchell as he introduce five different kinds of gossiping people that you might meet (or might be!).

On Location

This video was filmed at the West Branch Dairy Diner, also known around here as "The Pumpkin House" because of its orange exterior. The Pumpkin House is one of our local eateries and meeting places--yummy food and good conversation. I think that music stand looks a little out of place behind the counter.

Please Share

Don't forget that these ten videos are all free for streaming, downloading, and sharing. Please pass them on to whomever you think will profit from them. Each film is specifically designed to be used in conjunction with a chapter in Resisting Gossip and a lesson from the new companion book Resisting Gossip Together which comes out on October 7th.

Tomorrow, we'll release lesson #4: "Believing the Best."


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

CLC World Magazine

It's neat to see Resisting Gossip on this shelf--twice!

I'm blessed to be partnering with a publishing mission that is focused on getting edifying Christian books into people's hands around the globe.

Lesson #2. "Why Do We Gossip?"

I'm pleased to present Lesson #2 of the Resisting Gossip Teaching Series.


Resisting Gossip Teaching Series: Lesson 2 from Third Brother Films on Vimeo.

Introduction

Why do we fall into the sin of gossip? What are the reasons that gossip is so alluring and powerful? What drives the sin of gossip in our lives? Join Pastor Matt Mitchell as he teaches on both the potency of stories and the central role of the heart.

On Location

We filmed this second video in the home of Cody and Holly Crumrine which should look familiar to viewers who remember last year's trailer for Resisting Gossip--even the same potato chip bowl! The Crumrine's cat "Most Excellent Theophilus" was bound and determined to star in this film with me. No matter how many times we tried to lock it out of the kitchen, it found a way back in. Boy, was Theo surprised when I poured the water out on the floor! And there is that music stand again. Thank you, Crumrines!

Please Share

Don't forget that these ten videos are all free for streaming, downloading, and sharing. Please pass them on to whomever you think will profit from them. Each film is specifically designed to be used in conjunction with a chapter in Resisting Gossip and a lesson from the new companion book Resisting Gossip Together which comes out on October 7th.

Tomorrow, we'll release lesson #3: "A Gallery of Gossips."


Monday, September 15, 2014

Lesson #1. "What, Exactly, Is Gossip?"

I'm pleased to present Lesson #1 of the Resisting Gossip Teaching Series.


Resisting Gossip Teaching Series: Lesson 1 from Third Brother Films on Vimeo.

Introduction

The first rule of war is to know your enemy. Before we can resist gossip, we must recognize it, but that’s not as easy to do as it may sound. Join Pastor Matt Mitchell as he teaches a biblical and practical definition of sinful gossip.

On Location

We filmed this first video in my office at church. You get a peak into my little world of books and ideas where I do a lot of my research and writing. There's a shot (00:58) of the quote by Erasmus which Heather illustrated and I have prominently displayed: "When I get a little money I buy books. If any is left I buy food or clothes." There is also a shot of our wedding picture. In this video, the music stand makes its debut--and shows up in some of the most unlikely places throughout the series.

Please Share

Don't forget that these ten videos are all free for streaming, downloading, and sharing. Please pass them on to whomever you think will profit from them. Each film is specifically designed to be used in conjunction with a chapter in Resisting Gossip and a lesson from the new companion book Resisting Gossip Together which comes out on October 7th.

Tomorrow, we'll release lesson #2: "Why Do We Gossip?"


Sunday, September 14, 2014

[Matt's Messages] "The Bad News"

“The Bad News”
All Roads Lead to Romans
September 14, 2014 :: Romans 1:18-32

We’re already two weeks into our new series called “All Roads Lead to Romans,” and we’ve only made it 17 verses.  The first week was an introduction where we saw that Romans is not just a theology book but is a letter from Paul to the Christians in Rome, both Jew and Gentile. People beloved of God and called to be holy. And so are we!

Last week, we saw how much Paul longed to be with those Roman Christians and to share the gospel with them, the good news about Jesus.  And that’s because Paul is not ashamed of the gospel. Why? Because it is “the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.”

Everyone who believes, both Jew and Gentile.

How does that happen? Romans 1:17

“For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’”

That’s what we’ve learned so far.

The gospel is the power of God for salvation through the righteousness of God that comes by faith to everyone who believes.

That’s the good news!

Paul is now going to unpack that good news.

But he’s got start with “The Bad News.”

Have you ever had anyone say to you, “I’ve got good news and I’ve got bad news. Which one do you want first?”

Well, Paul has told us in a nutshell what the good news is, but to get there you have to go through the bad news.

And the bad news is the answer to this question, “Why? Why is the power of God for salvation so necessary?”  “Why do we need saving?” “Why do we need the gospel?”

And the answer in one word is “sin.” Or “unrighteousness.”

We have a righteousness problem–and that is that we don’t have righteousness.

But we have plenty of un-righteousness.

The bad news.

Now, I’m just going to tell you that this week is going to be depressing. This is a sermon on the bad news. And the bad news section of Romans runs from chapter 1, verse 18 all the way to chapter 3, verse 20. So, prepare your minds for a lot of bad news over the next few weeks.

But Paul does that so that we can see just how good the good news is!

And how universal it is. He’s going to take up to 3 chapters to establish how everyone is under the power of sin and then how everyone who puts their trust in Jesus and His sacrifice will be saved. Both Jew and Gentile. Everyone.

But he’s got start with the bad news.

Today, we’re just going to take the first step in his argument. That’s chapter 1, verses 18 through 32. Here Paul shares the bad news that’s true of everyone, including those who do not have any special revelation, any of the Bible, any of the Scriptures, any word from God. In short, the Gentiles.

Here’s the bad news. I’ve got three points of bad news this morning.

#1. THE WRATH OF GOD IS COMING. V.18

“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness...”

The word translated “wickedness” could also be translated “unrighteousness.” It’s the opposite of v.17's beautiful word “righteousness.”

Because of the unrighteousness of men, of people, the wrath of God is coming.

Now, we don’t like that word. We don’t want God to be mad.

Somebody once said that we like to think that we’re not so bad and that God’s not so mad.

But the Bible says the opposite. It says we are bad, and God is mad.

“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness...”

Wrath is anger. It’s God’s displeasure with sin. It’s God’s holy reaction to our unrighteousness.

It means punishment. It means consequences. It means condemnation. It means death.

Now, notice that the wrath of God is being “revealed.”  That’s the same word as in verse 17 where the gospel “reveals” the righteousness of God.

Well, here the wrath of God is being revealed.

And it’s present tense. It’s not just someday future–what we might call the end of the world.

It’s now. The wrath of God is coming now.

It’s coming in our deaths. It’s coming in the pain and futility and brokenness of the world. And it’s even coming in the growth of sin, more and more sin means more and more degradation and more and more wrath.

Here’s the bad news – the wrath of God is coming.

Now, you won’t hear that on the nightly news.

The anchorman won’t wrap up his little talk with a reminder that the wrath of God is on the way.

The President won’t include it in the State of the Union address.

In fact, we tend to laugh at people who remind us of it, like their crazy people holding up signs about the end of the world.

“The Wrath of God is Coming!”

We don’t want to hear it at all.

But that doesn’t make it untrue.

The wrath of God is coming.  And it’s coming because people, humankind, have rejected God.

And we have no excuse.

#2. NO ONE HAS AN EXCUSE.

“Well, God may be mad, but He’s not at me, because....”

Paul is saying here that no one has an excuse. Including those who don’t have a Bible.  Who have never heard the name of Jesus. Who don’t have what we call “special revelation.” v.18 again.

“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness [They suppress it. They push it down] since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.

For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”

Paul is saying that we all know better.

We all know better than we will admit.

Even the atheist. Paul is saying that even the atheist knows that there is God, but they suppress that truth. They push it down.

God has made Himself known in creation.

The Season of Fall has arrived, has it not?  It’s crisp and cool in the evening. The leaves are beginning to turn and even fall. There are some cloudless nights when you can see millions of stars.

It’s a beautiful time of year here in Central Pennsylvania.

And every molecule says, “God is eternally powerful and divine.”

And every atom says, “God exists and people are going to be accountable to Him.”

And every star in the sky proclaims, “God is glorious. He made you. You owe Him. You should give Him thanks and worship Him.”

Even you Gentiles. You who have never heard the name of Jesus.

You know God. You know He’s there. You just don’t want Him to be!

No one has an excuse.

There is more than enough God written into everything to make every person with a working mind and heart accountable.

Now, I’m not saying that there is enough God written into everything to save every person. We need the gospel for that.

But there is enough God written into everything to condemn every person because every person can see God there but suppresses that truth in unrighteousness.

No excuse for rejecting God. Because that’s what we’ve all done. V.21

“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.”

We call that idolatry.

Exchanging the glory of God for something that is not God.

People are really good at that.

Back then, they did it with images of men, birds, animals, even snakes!

Today, we do it with greenbacks, quarterbacks, like-buttons, smartphones, and other pleasures of every kind. We can make anything into an idol. Anything that takes the place of God.

You see that word in verse 23, “exchanged?” That’s an important word here. It’s in verse 23, verse 25, and verse 26.

It’s what people do. We exchange God for idols.

And it’s so foolish. V.22, “Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools.”

That describes Adam and Eve, doesn’t it?  “You will be come wise!” the serpent said.

But there is nothing more foolish than sin. Nothing more foolish than idolatry.

And no one has an excuse.

We should know better, but now we’re blind. Culpably blind. V.21, “Their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

Now, in verses 24 through 27, part of what Paul is going to say is about homosexuality.

And because it’s such a hot-button topic in our culture right now–I’m going to teach on these verses next week in a special message devoted just to that topic.

Along with these verses (24-27), I’m going to share some of what I talked about at the Challenge Conference this Summer. A number of you have asked me to do that, so I will. There is much to say–more than I can say here today.

But I will point this out today. Sexual sin, especially here homosexual relations, is the product of idolatry.

Now, that’s not a popular message today. And someday I may get into trouble with the law for saying so. But the Bible says it, and I’m called to teach what is in here. V.24

“Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.”

The key word is “therefore.” Because they (v.23) exchanged the glory of God for idols, therefore, God gave them over to sexual impurity.

That sexual sin is actually the punishment for the idolatry! It’s the judgment. It’s part of the wrath. Do you see the logic?

Because they (sinful people) rejected God in favor of god-substitutes, God gave them over to sexual sin. Sexual sin is a result of idolatry.

That’s what verse 25 goes on to say.

“They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator–who is forever praised. Amen. [That’s idolatry.] Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.”

I think the due penalty is more sin. The judgment for sin is more sin. And therefore earning more condemnation.

I told you this was going to be a depressing message.

Now, I know that raises a lot of questions. And we’re going to come back to this next week in that special message on homosexuality.

What I want to focus on here is the biggest problem on planet earth. What verse 25 says.

“They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator–who is forever praised. Amen.”

That’s the biggest problem on planet earth.

The most foolish exchange. The truth of God for a lie.

The worship of created things instead of the Creator of all.

And no one has an excuse.

“Well, I didn’t know!”

Yes, you did.

“Well, this is what I felt!”

Yes, but deep down you knew it was wrong. No matter what you felt or what you told yourself. No matter how you suppressed it. No matter what lie you told yourself and believed.

You traded God for stuff.

That’s what people did. They traded God for stuff.

And God, judiciously, handed them over to more stuff.

#3. WE ARE ASKING FOR IT.

The bad news is that the wrath of God is coming, no one has an excuse, and we are just asking for it. V.28

“Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips [there’s my word!], slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents;  they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.”

How bad can we get?

“Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death [wrath, judgment, punishment, condemnation, death], they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”

These sinful people (which are everybody) are just asking for it.

They know in their heart of hearts God’s righteous decree that doing these sinful things deserves death.

But they keep on going.

And more than that, they applaud when others do them, too.

“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20).

We are just asking for it.

Although they know it’s wrong and deserving wrath, they “continue to do these very  things, [and] also approve those who practice them.”

That’s bad news.

So, what difference does this make for our lives today?

I’ve got three quick points of application.

#1. Swallow Your Medicine.

And by that, I mean humble yourself and agree with God that this is true.

We are bad, and God is mad.

And we should know better.

If you or I are ignoring the wrath of God, we are in big trouble.

We don’t have to like it, but we do have to acknowledge it as true. The bad news is true news.

This bad news calls for a sober self-evaluation.

“Do anything in verses 18 through 32 describe me?”

Some might want to make homosexuality what it’s all about. And there are some things here that say that homosexual relations are sinful.

But so is (v.29), envy, strife, deceit, malice. Gossip! Insolence, arrogance, boasting.

Take a hard look inside, and I think you’ll find yourself in these verses.

I know that I do.

If you don’t see yourself, then hold on for chapter 2 and chapter 3. Because Paul is going to go after the religious goody-two-shoes people, too.

The whole point of this portion is that all have sinned. All are under the domination of sin’s power. Unrighteousness.

And that’s why wrath is coming.

#2. Repent and Call Others to Repent.

Don’t just agree that these things are bad, turn away from them.

And turn to God.

In your heart, reverse the dark exchange. Away from idols. Away from lies. Away from darkness.

Turn to God. Turn to truth. Turn to the light.

And call on others to do the same.

Stop applauding when they sin. Stop approving of their death-deserving sins.

Warn them about the wrath to come.

And invite them to trust in the Savior.

I can’t wait a month until chapter 3 to remind you of the good news.

#3. Rejoice in the Gospel!

Because Calvary covers it all.

All of that unrighteousness that is storing up wrath for the day of judgment?

V.17 again.

“...in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’”

Calvary covers it all.

Every bit of bad news in verses 18 through 32 is countered and covered by the good news.

The bad news is bad, but it shows us just how good the good news is.

Rejoice in the gospel!

For the first time or for the billionth.

The gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.

***

Messages in this Series

01. All Roads Lead to Romans
02. I Am Not Ashamed of the Gospel

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Friday, September 12, 2014

"Resisting Gossip" in Russian! "Сопротивление сплетни"

Rejoice with me!

I got word today that CLC Belarus will be doing a translation of Resisting Gossip into the Russian language.

I don't know how accurate it is, or if I'm typing it in correctly, but Google Translate tells me the title would probably be: "Сопротивление сплетни"

How exciting to get to share this message with people in Eastern Europe and Russia!