SHARPER THAN A SWORD

SERMONS

Hebrews 4:12-13 "For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account."

All articles are written using the NKJV, unless otherwise noted! All articles are written by David Hicks, unless specified otherwise.

Weightier Matters

Part III

Do All Things Without Complaining and Disputing”

Introduction:

In our introduction, we discussed that in many cases it is easy to lose sight of the weightier matters concerning true service to God. As an example, we began to look into issues that plagues many Christians and churches today.

Many problems face the Lord's church today! Societies declining moral standards, Christians apathy, and church decline to name a few. In many cases, today's churches have gone outside the box in order to stem the continued slide of the church (the scriptural box!); further sending them towards a corrupted separation from the original design.

In this series of lessons, it is our intention to prove that instead of a departure from the wisdom delivered by the Holy Spirit through Devine scripture, a whole hearted return to that wisdom is truly necessary in order to survive in a perverse and crooked generation!

This is the very message of our text, note:

Philippians 2:12-16 “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. 14 Do all things without complaining and disputing , 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life , so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.”

We find from our introduction that the church in Philippi had a great deal in common with our situation today. Within the text are three vital points that we are spending time on to realize that all the answers we seek exist within this Divine guide. In this lesson we are going to spend time on the one instruction that dwells on what we are NOT ' to be engaged in!

   

“Do All Things Without Murmuring or Complaining”

As was mentioned earlier, this is the one instruction of the three that we are not to be engaged in. I want to point out in advance that God expects His children to think and to grow, note:

2 Peter 1:5-6 “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge , 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness,”

By this alone, we can acquire the insight that Paul is not condemning discussion for the purpose of edification and growth.

 

Murmuring: This word describes a grumbling or undermining in a low mumbling tone (one that is practiced in the shadows or out of the range of the sources it is directed towards). The word is always used in a negative sense and is always associated with gossip or an undermining effect towards authority.

The Apostle Paul would use the word in association with the children of Israel as an example to Christians of one of the things that may cause them to fall (like the children of Israel in the wilderness), note:

1 Corinthians 10:10 “nor murmur, as some of them also, murmured, and were destroyed by the destroyer.”

 

James, in his letter of practical Christian living, envisioned murmuring as an undermining force against perseverance and patience towards our goals, note:

James 5:9 “Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!”

 

Murmuring has the same effect as when you stand in the surf by the sea. The waves come in past you, and then as they retreat, they pull the sand out from under your feet. This was the same undermining effect that the Apostles were faced with in the church at Jerusalem , note:

Acts 6:1 “Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a murmuring against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution.”

This murmuring was having a divisive effect on the work of the Gospel. Had it been brought to the attention of the Apostles immediately, the solution provided in the remainder of the text would have been applied and the damaging prejudices would have been avoided. The result would have been continued growth without interruption , note:

Acts 6:7 “Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem , and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.”

 

Disputing: This word is more direct and used in a sense that describes intent by the user. It means to argue or to wrangle. So, we can clearly see that this is not the discussion of differences with the purpose of edification. This form of engagement is self-seeking and pride driven and usually associated with trivial things, note:

1 Timothy 1:3-4 “As I urged you when I went into Macedonia--remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, 4 nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith.”

1 Timothy 4:7 “But reject profane and old wives' fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness.”

1 Timothy 6:3-5 “If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, 4 he is proud , knowing nothing , but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words , from which come envy , strife , reviling , evil suspicions , 5 useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth , who suppose that godliness is a means of gain . From such withdraw yourself.”

Titus 1:14 “not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth.”

Titus 3:9-10 “But avoid foolish disputes , genealogies , contentions , and strivings about the law ; for they are unprofitable and useless . 10 Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition,”

 

As we can see through these admonitions from Paul, there was great concern about specific damage to the doctrine of Christ and the foundations of the church (Timothy being charge to demand that the brethren in the church of Ephesus teach no other doctrine – I Timothy 1:3 ; Titus being charged to set things in order at the churches of Crete – Titus 1:5 ). These wranglings had undermined the nature of the Gospel of Christ and dissolved the working bonds by which the church would grow ( Ephesians 4:16 ).

However, in correcting the problem, Paul gave specific instruction to Timothy and to Titus concerning the way they were to address these specific issues that would set them apart from those who disputed, note:

2 Timothy 2:24-26 “And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.”

Titus 2:7 “in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility,”

(15) “Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.”

Titus 3:1-2 “Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.”

 

Conclusion: Now that we have a working knowledge of these undermining actions that work against the growth of the church and the spread of the Gospel (murmuring and disputing from within), let's illustrate why this is such an issue to the church which exists in a crooked and perverse generation.

 

I have a good friend and brother in Christ who described to me in a way that has always stuck with me, concerning the damage Christians cause with the practice of such undermining effects. He was a soldier in the Vietnam conflict. He described to me that one of the greatest weapons the enemy enjoyed did not exist in specialized fire power or strategic prowess. It was the damage caused by the incompetent, fearful, and ignorant ranks from within our own troops (friendly fire).

Without going into any more detail, we can see the application in today's church. Incompetent, fearful, and ignorant brethren undermine the efforts of the Gospel and the growth of the church; who from within have dissolved the foundations designed to protect the church from the environment of the cooked and perverse generations.

This form of useless argument and mean spirited gossip have sent many of the weak and many of or young straight to the clutches of the world. Nothing undermines the truth more than a failure to practice what we preach!

The need to create new methods to lure back those whom we have driven away or to attempt to change perceptions concerning the value of Christianity are completely unnecessary. All that is truly necessary is that we practice the righteousness that the Lord has given with the genuine love for our fellow man described within that righteousness.

To grow in a perverse and crooked generation demands that all of us refrain from undermining gossip and subversion. In addition, we must not allow ourselves to be powder-puff Christians, who's lack of knowledge of the truth causes us to argue concerning things that haven't any foundation in the truth, or about things that invigorate our own egos!

 

Titus 3:8

“This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.”

 

Next: “ Holding Fast the Word of Life