Thursday, July 28, 2005

Sabbath School Insights No. 5, Qtr3-05

Sabbath School Insights No. 5
Quarter 3, 2005, Adult Sabbath School Lessons
“The Spiritual Life”
(Produced by the Editorial Board of the 1888 Message Study Committee)
“Lord of Our Speech”

“For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same [is] a perfect man, [and] able also to bridle the whole body” (James 3:2. KJV).

Who [is] a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against [or, admit] the truth” (James 3:13, 14, KJV).

Our speech is a thermometer of what dwells inside. “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man” (Matt. 15:18, KJV, emphasis supplied).

We reveal what is inside of us by what we say and the way that we say it. It behooves us, then, to be very careful with what words we use in presenting an idea as well as our tone of voice and body language in the telling of it. Yet, this is impossible for the fallen sinful human flesh, that flesh that we are all made of, to control by itself. For any human being to control his tongue, he must find something from outside of his fallen sinful human flesh. (By the way, this is why the Lord wants us to eat. We must take in sustenance from a source outside of ourselves in order to live at all. Two or three times a day God uses this object lesson to remind us that none of us are self-sufficient.)

By taking fallen sinful human flesh (that same flesh that you and I have) and, while in that fallen sinful human flesh, completely overcoming the cravings of that flesh, Christ forged for the entire human race and everyone who calls themselves a member of that race the righteousness and change of heart that is necessary to control the tongue. Logically, then, it becomes obvious that if the tongue is ever to be controlled, it must be done by One who has proven Himself successful in every case and in every battle over control of the tongue.

“All true obedience comes from the heart. It was heart work with Christ. And if we consent, He will so identify Himself with our thoughts and aims, so blend our hearts and minds into conformity to His will, that when obeying Him we shall be but carrying out our own impulses. The will, refined and sanctified, will find its highest delight in doing His service. When we know God as it is our privilege to know Him, our life will be a life of continual obedience. Through an appreciation of the character of Christ, through communion with God, sin will become hateful to us” (The Desire of Ages, p. 668, emphasis supplied).
Christ has already identified with the human race and each member of it by taking upon himself our flesh and, as the second Adam, the representative of the race, has already gained the victory for you and me. Will you believe? Allow Him now to give you a new heart. Allow Him now to come in and sup with you (Rev. 3:20). Allow Him now to identify with your very thoughts and desires and blend his will with yours, so that not only your tongue, but your whole being will be wholly, completely, and entirely His--then, what comes out will also be His word and His work. Then you can know, in your own experience, what continual obedience, including control of the tongue, is all about. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5).
And it is not that we now carry out our own impulses in doing God’s work, but that our obedience is so fluid, so natural for God, that when obeying the impulses of god, it is as if we are carrying out our own impulses. This is the only way the human voice can be controlled. I want that kind of obedience in my life, wouldn’t you?
The key to the power of controlling the tongue is found in Genesis 1:1-5: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness [was] upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that [it was] good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day” (KJV, emphasis supplied).

In this passage and, actually, the whole first chapter of Genesis – indeed the whole Bible is based on this one premise--that God’s word has inherent within it the power to create what it says when He says it. With that kind of power concentrated on one aspect of life, that is, speech, why not go directly to the source of that power, God Himself, who has identified Himself so closely with you and me, and let Him control our speech? Let His creative power work in you, the power of His voice. Let His voice control your voice. “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10 KJV, emphasis supplied).

E. J. Waggoner, one of the 1888 “messengers,” points out how powerless are our words without Him living within us: “...... the glory of God must be revealed to the whole world, in order that all may have the same opportunity of salvation. Now no one can describe to another the glory of God. No mind can comprehend it, and no words can be framed that would convey any idea of it. ‘The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth His handiwork;’ but it is not by words. ‘There is no speech nor language; without these their voice is heard.’ If they depended upon articulate speech, they could not declare God’s glory. They do it only by letting the world see the glory that God has given them. We are also the workmanship of God, called out of darkness into His marvelous light, that we should show forth His excellencies. If we depend upon words alone, we shall make a failure. Our words will be powerless, if the glory of God is not revealed in our lives” (“Personal Experience for the Time,” Home Missionary, Nov., 1893; Christ and His Righteousness, pp. 199-200, new edition).

“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the [old] covenant that I made with their fathers in the day [that] I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this [shall be] the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jer. 31:31-33, KJV, emphasis supplied).

“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do [them]. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. I will also save you from all your uncleannesses” (Eze. 36:26-29, first part. KJV, emphasis supplied).

Amen. Thank you, Lord.
--Craig Barnes


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