Pause Before you Speak

Last week, we were challenged to go out into the world about us and to build-up, to be positive in our talk and choice of words. So, were you able to go a full week without any negativity? The truth is that if you were anything like me, it was such a difficult challenge. People just seemed to pop up and it was so easy to lose track and then when you realized that you had stepped off of the positivity train, if you were like me, you felt like a failure in need of confession? 

Before you beat yourself up, that is actually a good thing, because the Lord is the best person to talk to. Controlling our tongues, well, it just isn’t that easy. The tongue is truly difficult to control, but if we can learn to control it better, the Bible tells us we can also control our evil tendencies. Thus, the tongue is like a gateway to the world or a window into what is going on inside of us. What we are struggling with, illness, relationships, family, our jobs, the people we interact with, each can all affect us more than we often realize. 

Then before we know it, we are off to the races and struggling to catch up with our wagging tongues. This week we will look at how we can set about taming our tongues. So, let’s ask ourselves, is it worth the effort. Resoundingly yes. The Bible and all of its promises remind us that God is still working on each of us and that if we leave even one area, say the tongue, to its own devices, it will create some really big issues for us. Think of not having a firm grip on our tongues, like a loose bit and bridle with a horse. That horse is bound to be unresponsive and take us a few places we don’t want to go and cause us to be placed in some pretty perilous places. Or it could be like being on board a ship without a rudder to steer. None of us wants that. 

So, today, let’s begin or continue praying about our tongues, know that as we claim a tight grip we will also be gaining control over our entire lives. Ask the Lord for His help. Pray this with me: Lord, so often my tongue gets out ahead of my heart and mind. I’m so quick to open my mouth and speak, only to later have to repent of the many thoughtless things I’ve spoken. Lord, I’m sorry for the careless words I’ve spoken in gossip or anger. Lord, please have the Holy Spirit to help me pause when I’m about to speak without considering what I’m saying. Help me Lord, to be more thoughtful in my choice of words and more like you. Let my words be overflowing with the fruit of your Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, my strength, and my redeemer. Amen.



Our Father In Heaven— Unraveled — Matthew 6.10…Handout

Remember when life unraveled, devolved into chaos, and many of us turned to Christ? We asked, confessed, and began to follow after Jesus. Understanding God’s Kingdom is paramount to having a productive faith _____. Matthew 6:10 ~Your kingdom_____, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. (ESV) This means we need to learn how to answer_____ questions posited by this verse. Unraveled: What?,________?, How?

1)______ is God’s Kingdom? God’s kingdom refers to His dominion, especially over our world, and it requires a king or monarch. Do you realize that there are____ kingdoms in this world? Yes / No. There is the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness. The kingdom of darkness is ruled by a condemned prince of this world, Satan. The other is the Kingdom of God, ruled by the Lord. Satan is not king of this world; he is simply a temporary ruler because God’s kingdom is coming to destroy Satan’s rule. As the King, Jesus is the chief representative of God’s Kingdom. John 18:36~Jesus said, My kingdom is not of this world…But now my kingdom is from another place. (NIV) In other words, the kingdom of God is not earthly but spiritual. Thus God’s spiritual kingdom can be divided into______ parts. Spiritual Kingdom Part #1—God’s_____Kingdom. God’s plan for His kingdom in the past was for Israel to be a kingdom of priests, serving the world. Exodus 19:5-6 Spiritual Kingdom Part #2—God’s__________Kingdom. Matthew 4:17~From that time on Jesus began…the kingdom of heaven has come near. (NIV) Jesus is shifting towards leading men and women into faith, which an obedient relationship with God the Father. Being a believer is being a member of God’s Present Kingdom, AKA the________. Our lives are a purpose-filled part of God’s plan. Spiritual Kingdom Part #3—God’s________ Kingdom. God says when He comes back there will be a phenomenal and fundamental change in our world. What is God’s kingdom? God’s Kingdom is_______God rules or reigns.

2) Where is God’s________? Can anyone give us some directions? Yes / No. God’s kingdom is not visible, so we cannot say it is here or there. Luke 17:21~…because the kingdom of God is in your midst. (NIV) The kingdom of God is literally within us because God rules & reigns in our______. Romans 14:17~For the kingdom of God is…righteousness, peace & joy in the Holy Spirit, (NIV) Where is God’s kingdom?________He rules and reigns.

3) How Can We________God’s Kingdom To Earth? Let’s consider____ways: #1 Way We Bring God’s Kingdom—By Living_____ God. This means our first concern is God’s Kingdom and not our own little kingdom. Matthew 6:33~But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (NIV) Way #2 We Bring God’s Kingdom—By ________Others. This is because Jesus now reigns in _____ more life. Way #3 We Bring God’s Kingdom—By _______For God’s Present and Future Kingdom. Listen to Revelation 19:9~…Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!… (NIV) This is when all the saints, of all time, sit down with the Lord for a great homecoming feast. 

Take-A-Step:__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________



Trust

Did you know that as teachers of the Gospel we are not to be pushy? By definition, pushy involves ambition, which is determined to be something or do something. We cannot force people to accept Christ. And as such, Christianity is not about a teacher or a particular personality, it is all about Jesus Christ. So, James warns us about being too ambitious for a teaching position, Why? Well, teachers will be judged by an even stricter standard. 

For some, it is exhilarating to be the teacher of the hour in a group of people. However, being a teacher can bring judgment if done for selfish ambition or a personal agenda. Bible teachers are to teach God’s Word and allow the Holy Spirit to help them unpack the meaning and provide insights. So, should we desire to be teachers, even though we will receive a greater or stricter judgment? Yes! Remember as our Lord Jesus offers us some parting direction He commissions us Matthew 28 saying make disciples. 

This can only be done if we are willing to share our faith, to teach others the way of Christ, to learn as we journey through life and faith, and to collaborate by doing life together. Understand the role of a teacher. A teacher is to nurture and encourage, a teacher is to discipline and shape, a teacher is to be a role model. Why do you think the secular world has fought God in schools so hard and for so long? Teachers are hugely important. Listen to one of the best Biblical teachers we have, the Apostle Paul who said in 1 Corinthians 11:1~Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. (NIV)

Church it is not enough just to be a regular attender, we are to make disciples. One of the best-backhanded compliments I have ever received is if you keep teaching like that and you’re gonna make some disciples. Absolutely, that is our goal at Mt Gallant. We want to proclaim Christ, create, community, and impact culture. If we can claim sufficient knowledge of God’s Word, enough to explain it to others, we are more accountable to teach it correctly and set an example by obeying it. 

Saints we must understand that increased influence in the life of others means increased accountability. Luke 12:48~But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. (NIV) 

James is not discouraging us from becoming teachers; he is simply reminding us of the great responsibility and potential problems that accompany teaching. The immature desire to be in the spotlight and be looked upon as a person of authority is as much a problem today as it was in any other time of history. Part of our role in the faith is to help immature believers continue growing and maturing, instead of getting hung up thinking they know it all. 

Speaking about Bishops like me or of an elder like Tom, Paul writes in 1 Timothy 3:6~He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. (NIV) In His same letter, Paul will go on to say in 1 Timothy 5:22-24, lay hands suddenly on no man. Remember the point of teaching for Christ is to be selfless. Immature people may want to teach so they can be in the spotlight, to push their own agendas, or have more influence. However, if we want to tame our tongues and not spread poison then as teachers, we are not to be Pushy.

Today, how might you alter your approach to being a fisher of men and women? As a fisherman, we are always adjusting our bait to the surrounding conditions. The same is true as we teach. We survey the audience and pay attention to who is there, the types of things they know and like and then fish with that in mind. Ask God to help you select the best approach to teaching those who are being brought into your life, to minister too. And remember, God is the wisest of all, He will help you choose the best approach.