Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Resisting Gossip: Winning the War of the Wagging Tongue



New!

Resisting Gossip was released on September 3rd by CLC Publications.

Learn More

Preview, download, and read the endorsements, table of contents, foreword by Ed Welch of CCEF, introduction, and first chapter at the CLC Facebook page.

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.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Anti-Social Media: Whisper, Secret, and Yik Yak

Readers of this blog can probably guess what I think of the new apps for anonymous sharing of secrets.

Very. Bad. Idea.

"A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret." - Proverbs 11:13

"A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends." - Proverbs 16:28

"The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man's inmost parts." - Proverbs 18:8, 26:22

***

"Anti-Social Media" is a new feature/label here on Hot Orthodoxy where we report on and interact with new and disturbing trends in social media that correlate to the problem of gossip.


[RGB Stock Photo by Eric Cortner]

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Reading "Risen" Again this Resurrection Season

This coming Sunday is Resurrection Sunday.

Starting Monday, I'm planning to re-read Risen: 50 Reasons Why the Resurrection Changes Everything. (Only $2.99 on Kindle today!)

I read it for the first time last year, and it was one of the 5 best books I read in 2013.

What are your plans to bask in the Risen Son?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Filled Tomb

The Biblical Counseling Coalition has just published a short meditation I wrote on "Reflections on the Burial of Jesus of Jesus for Biblical Counseling."
During this season, we Christians love to talk about “The Empty Tomb” because our Lord is risen. But before He could rise, He had to be buried. Before there was an empty tomb, there had to be a filled tomb.
I very briefly tease out 3 implications: salvation, sadness, and hope.

Read the whole thing.

Monday, April 14, 2014

2 Sermons on Resisting Gossip by Jim Larson

Pastor Jim Larson of Camarillo Evangelical Free Church has recently preached two key messages on the problem of gossip building upon Resisting Gossip.

#1. Recognizing Runaway Conversations (click on 03/23/14). (HANDOUT NOTES)

#2. Resisting Runaway Conversations (click on 03/30/14). (HANDOUT NOTES)

Jim wrote me an encouraging note last week saying that these messages have "made a deep impact on many in the congregation," and that he was recommending that church folks read through Resisting Gossip once a year. It is so humbling and heartening to hear how Resisting Gossip is helping people to change the way they talk to and about others!

If you listen to the messages, you'll hear that Jim himself is a wordsmith:

-  About James 3, he says, "I can't get a charcoal barbeque going with with gasoline and hand-grenades and yet the tongue seems to be that little organ that sets everything ablaze."

-  He describes the talking side of gossip as "active gossip" and the listening side as "passive gossip." (I wish I'd thought of that!)

- He points out that Absalom was the consummate backstabber.

- He says that some people are "absent-mindedly malicious" and that others are "Drive-by listeners" who are gawking at the lives of others.  (I'll be using that one, Jim!)

Jim ends his series saying, "We can do better. We don't have to be enslaved by speaking ill of people, by rejoicing in their weaknesses, by glorying in their dark side. We don't have to be that way. We can be people who rejoice in goodness and righteousness. Who look to build people up, not tear people down."

Amen!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

[Matt's Messages] "He Himself"

“He Himself”
April 13, 2013 :: 1 Peter 2:24

It’s become a kind of tradition for me to preach on Palm Sunday a Good Friday message.

That is to say that on the Sunday before Resurrection Sunday, I like to focus our attention on the death of Jesus Christ on the Cross. What I just read to you from Luke’s gospel.

Next week, we’ll think about the Empty Tomb. We’ll celebrate the empty tomb with loud singing and a joyful sermon and water baptisms.

But today, we concentrate on the Cross of Christ.

And I want to do that by focusing our attention together on just that one verse at the end of 1 Peter chapter 2. Our Hide the Word verse.

Say it with me.

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.”

This is what it’s all about.

“He Himself”

In 1 Peter 2, the Apostle Peter is explaining to the Christians spread throughout Asia Minor that they will probably have to undergo suffering and persecution.

They shouldn’t be surprised if they have to undergo suffering even for doing what is right.

These Christians should submit to the authorities over them and be ready to suffer unjustly because Jesus did.

1 Peter 2 is that famous passage from which we get the initials WWJD. “What Would Jesus Do?”  And when I preached on this chapter years ago, I titled the message, “What Would Jesus Do With a Raw Deal?”

Because we will get raw deals in this life. Our world is broken and there will be injustice until Christ comes back.

So, we look to Jesus as our example. V.21, “To this [suffeirng] you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.”

This is not a popular doctrine. Nobody likes suffering. Nobody likes injustice. Nobody likes a raw deal. But Jesus showed us the way. V.22

“‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.’ [That’s Isaiah 53!] When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.”

We just read that in Luke 23.

And then Peter says our verse.

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.”

Let’s meditate on that for a little bit.

“He himself.”

That’s important.

Jesus didn’t delegate this responsibility.
Jesus didn’t send Moses or Aaron or David or Isaiah or John the Baptist.
Jesus didn’t send an angel to take our place on the Cross.

Jesus did it Himself.

“He himself.”

This task was too much to assign to another person.

No other person, no other entity could do what Jesus did.

He had to do it himself.

He had to be that example.

He had to bear those sins.

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree...”

I hope that we never get tired of this part of the story.

I know that we say it all the time and familiarity can breed contempt if we let it.

But let’s not let it.

Jesus Himself bore our sins in his body on the tree.

He carried our sins. I think of all of our sins as a great big burden laid upon His back.

And imagine Him walking up a mountain, carrying our sins. My sins.

The times when I have chosen against Him. Either to do what He said not to or to not do what He said to do!

All of my sin and your sins on His shoulders.

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree...”

Meaning in His death on the Cross.

He was taking OUR sins upon Himself and paying for them.
Taking our place.
Substituting Himself for us.

Our sins, His body.

Those pronouns are really important.

Our sins, His body.

That’s what was going on when Jesus was crucified.

I read an article recently say that we should preach the cross, not just the crucifixion.

Not just that Jesus died a horrible death. That’s true.

But that He died doing something. There was purpose to that death.

Our sins, His body.

“He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree.”

Don’t let that get old.

Jesus did that for you!

Point of application?

#1. RECEIVE.

You can tell from the pronouns that this is a gift.

He did this for you, for me.

And gifts are to be received.  They are accepted. They are not earned.

Jesus didn’t die on the Cross because we had been such good little boys and girls.

He bore our sins.

That’s language drawn from Isaiah 53, as well, isn’t it?  Peter loves Isaiah 53.  He can see clearly how Jesus fulfilled that ancient prophecy, made 800 years before Jesus was born!

“We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all....For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:6 and 12).

He bore our sins.

If you have never yet received that gift, I invite you to do so today.

Christianity offers salvation for free. It’s a gift earned by the death of Jesus on the Cross.

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree.”

Receive that gift.

Don’t try to pay for your own sins. You won’t be able to do it.

Even if you could pay for one sin or two, the debt that you have racked up is too great.

The debt you will rack up is too great.

You couldn’t do it.

It could not say, “Matt Mitchell Himself bore his sins” so that they were paid for.

It would take an eternity in Hell to do that.

But that’s not what it says. It says, “He [Christ] Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree.”

Receive.

You’ll never regret it. Right, Church?

Everyone here who has received is so thankful to have received this grace.

That’s one of the big reasons why gather every week and talk about the Cross–because we are so thankful. Eternally grateful.

Because “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree.”

But that’s not all it says, is it?

Peter goes further into what the Cross means, what it was for.

He says more.

More than just that our sins were born, carried, paid for.

What does he say?

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness...”

Jesus Himself did this for us for a purpose, “so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness...”
Application?

#2. REPENT.

Sometimes we miss this part of the message.

We’re so thankful for our sins being born away we can miss this fundamental reason why they were born away so that we could die to sins and live for righteousness.

So we could stop sinning!
So we could stop doing the things that offend God.

And more than that.

So we could start loving.
So we could start living for righteousness.
So we could start doing the things that please God.

Jesus’ death wasn’t just so that we could be forgiven.

It was also so we could be empowered to repent.

Die and live.
Die sin and live for righteousness.

Those are powerful words.

That’s what baptism is a picture of.

Next week, when these boys go down into the water, there is a picture of death, of burial.

Dying to sins.

Jesus’ death means the death of our sins.

And when they come up out of the water, it’s a picture of new life, of resurrection.

Living now for righteousness.

Wow! May we never lose sight of that.

What sins in your life need to die?

What do you need to repent of?

The death of Jesus means that we need to consider ourselves dead to sin. No longer enslaved. No longer do we have to live in sin.

We can say no.

We can resist gossip.
We can resist pornography.
We can resist hating our enemies.
We can die to sexual immorality, sex outside of the covenant of marriage.
We can die to gluttony.
We can die to greed.
We can die to being anxious about the future.
We can die to cussing and lying and boasting.
We can die to getting drunk or stoned.
We can die to taking the Lord’s name in vain.
We can die to envying what someone else has.

And not only CAN we die to sins, but Jesus CALL US to die to those sins.

He died for them, so we can die to them.

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree so that we might die to sins...”

When we continue in unrepentant sin, we dishonor the sacrifice of Christ on our behalf.

When we go on sinning without ever turning from it, when we follow our evil desires and the lead of the world, we are saying to Jesus, “Thanks for the blood. It will come in handy for what I’m planning to do.”

God forbid. May it never be.

Repent.

Repenting is not something we do at the beginning of the Christian life and then it’s over.

We repent when we receive Christ, yes, but as Martin Luther said, “The Christian life is a race of repentance.”

We are called again and again and again to die to sin.

What sin do you need to repent of right now?

What sins are you holding onto?

What sins are you hiding from others?

Jesus is calling you to die to them.

And more than that!

He’s calling you and me to LIVE for righteousness.

Repentance is turning away from sin and turning to Christ and living His way.

It’s put off and put on.

Jesus Himself bore our sins so that we could live for righteousness.

So it’s not enough to resist gossip, we’ve got build others up with our words.

It’s not enough to not sleep around or sleep with your boyfriend or your girlfriend. It’s outside of mariage to “treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.”

And, within the covenant of marriage, it’s to bless your spouse with the gift of your body.

It’s not enough to not steal. We’ve got to work to earn to care for our families and to GIVE to others.

“Die to sins and live for righteousness.”

Are you living for righteousness?

That’s what the Cross was all about.

If you think of the Cross as just a get-out-of-jail-free card, you are missing so much.

The Cross frees us to live a new way.

To live lives of love.

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.”

You are no longer sin-sick.
You are no longer diseased by sin.
You are no longer under the curse.

You are healed.

His wounds have done it.

His stripes. His bruises. His lashings. His beatings.

His wounds have healed your sin.

Peter is again quoting Isaiah 53:

“Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed” (vv.4-5).

Application?

#3. REJOICE!

By his wounds we are healed.

That’s the strangest kind of doctor, isn’t it?

He just took our sin-sickness on Himself.

The doctor died, and the patients live!

Rejoice! You are healed.

You are healed.

You don’t have sin any longer.

You can live for righteousness.

You can do the right thing.

You are healed.

Rejoice!

You were enslaved to sin, now you are free to live a righteous life.
You were sick with sin, now you are healed.
You were a lost sheep, but now you have a Shepherd that watches safely over you.

That’s where he goes in the next verse. V.25

“For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”

“by his wounds you have been healed.”

Rejoice!
Rejoice!
Rejoice!

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.”

Go and live in health, and life, and righteousness!

Because that’s why Jesus died.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Friday, April 11, 2014

A Hiss in the Middle

Today I had the privilege of speaking to a group of church leaders at the Warren County Hospital about Resisting Gossip. They were a sharp bunch of interactive listeners, and I thoroughly enjoyed talking with them about this sticky subject.

One of them approached me afterwards and told me that growing up his mom had warned him and his siblings against gossip this way:

"Mother always said that gossip was like snake. It even has a hiss in the middle."