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January 15, 2021, 1:00 PM

From the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.
-Luke 6:45b

A professional fighter was recently charged with attempted murder for "allegedly" stabbing his two sisters. Both sisters were hospitalized with multiple stab wounds. One sister told police that her brother, Irwin Rivera, was the one responsible. The Palm Beach Post, and several other agencies, state Rivera claims "a higher power told him to do it."

In Acts 17:11, the Berean Jews are referred to as “more noble-minded” than another group Paul previously visited. Why? Because FIRST, the Bereans listened to what Paul had to say. SECOND, then went to written Scripture, i.e. the entirety of Scripture - not for proof-text ripped from part of a verse here... not twisting beyond recognition... not all warped and perverted... not all taken completely out of context - so when viewed with one eye closed and the other squinting we can make it look how we want... but INSTEAD in order to see if what Paul said was true, valid, and in perfect alignment and harmony with the WHOLE of inerrant, divinely inspired, and God-breathed Holy Scripture.

How important is it for us to take the same approach today? How important is it for us to be noble-minded and truly take captive EVERY THOUGHT and make it obedient to Christ (2 Cor 10:5)? To test and approve what God's perfect and pleasing will is (Rom 12:2)? To not gush folly from our lips as fools do (Pr 15:2) or to invite ruin (Pr 10:14) or to return to our same repulsive habits like wild dogs (Pr 26:11)? Jesus' brother, James, stated those who can't wrangle and subdue their tongue- their worship is worthless (James 1:26). Turns out that those simply going through the religious motions (Isa 29:13), even their prayer is an abomination (Pr 28:9). Ultimately, those religious sycophants, vile offenders, cowards, liars, and unbelieving idolaters will be consigned to the exact same eternal firey lake of burning sulfur as murderers and the sexually immoral, which is the second death (Rev 21:8).

We should carefully consider all this before casually tossing about our churchy language and christianese, "I feel like God told me..." When we don’t, we can literally justify anything: church splits, adultery, war, torture, even murder - and blame God for our wretched, sin-riddled decisions.

So before we picket, before we protest or rant about this group or that cause, before we jump on the latest PC cultural bandwagon, what if we stuck with what Scripture, The Bible, God's Word actually commands? Things like:

  • Consider others more important than self... Phil 2:3
  • Consider how we might spur one another on to love and good deeds... Heb 10:24
  • Love our enemies and pray for those who persecute... (Matt 5:44)
  • Our attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus (humility even unto death)... Phil 2:5-11
  • Give all our attention to Christ (not hyperbole)... 2 Peter 1:19
  • Make every effort to confirm our calling and election... 2 Peter 1:10
  • Wash others’ feet... John 13:14
  • Disciple all nations... Matt 28:18-20
  • Produce a harvest 30, 60, 100 times that which has been sewn... Mark 4:20
  • Produce fruit in keeping with repentance... Mark 3:8
  • Rejoice always... 1 Thess 5:16
  • Pray without ceasing... 1 Thess 5:17
  • Give thanks in all circumstances... 1 Thess 5:18
  • Stop being ashamed of the Gospel and its power... Rom 1:16; Mark 8:38
  • Recall everything not coming from faith is sin... Rom 14:23

Hebrews 9:28 tells us King Jesus is coming again soon.

When He appears it will not be to bear sin but to gather up those who are eagerly waiting for Him. What if those of us who claim to be Christians, followers, disciples, and lovers of Jesus Christ... what if we actually camped out and were literally obedient to all the things we know with ALL CERTAINTY He's commanded us to do? What if we stopped making up our own visions and inspiration? What if we stopped pursuing our dreams and pursued His mission instead? What if we stopped taking the Lord’s name in vain to justify our agendas and personal preferences, spewing forth, “I feel like God told me to...”

If we can’t find a corollary that lines up with the WHOLE of Scripture (in context), I’ll go out on a limb and say it’s someone else's voice. That's someone else speaking. He's known as satan, the accuser, the devil, the eternally defeated one who poses as an angel of light. He's the one who convinced Eve to eat. He's the one who can still convince a guy to stab his own sisters. He's the Great Dragon, the ancient serpent, who leads the whole world astray. He can still convince you and me the voice we hear is coming from God, and if we’re not noble-minded enough to test it against The Word... we'll probably listen.

If we don’t follow the Acts 17:11 model: A) listen and B) search Scripture for a corollary rooted in the Way, the Truth, and the Life - rooted in King Jesus... then we truly are fools bound for destruction.

What's the overflow of our heart producing? It's easy enough to determine. It's the fruit of our lips. The real question is this: Is it the fruit of the Spirit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control? Or is it the bad fruit of self-indulged justification, saying, "I feel like God told me..."

The lips of a fool lead them into strife, and their mouth begs for punishment.
Proverbs 18:6

-Pastor Kevin