CULTIVATING AND MANIFESTING AN EVANGELISTIC SPIRIT –
2 Cor. 10:16 “So that we may preach the gospel in regions beyond you…”
It would, I believe, be a profitable question for many of us to put to ourselves, how far we are discharging our holy responsibilities to “the regions beyond.” I believe the Christian who is not cultivating and manifesting an evangelistic spirit, is in a deplorable condition. I believe, too, that the assembly which is not cultivating and manifesting an evangelistic spirit is in a dead state.
One of the truest marks of spiritual growth and prosperity, whether in an individual, or in an assembly, is earnest anxiety after the conversion of souls. This anxiety will swell the bosom with most generous emotions; yea, it will break forth, in copious streams of benevolent exertion, ever flowing toward “the regions beyond.” It is hard to believe that “the Word of Christ” is “dwelling richly” in any one who is not making some effort to impart that Word to his fellow sinners. It matters not what may be the amount of the effort; it may be to drop a few words in the ear of a friend, to give a tract, to pen a note, to breathe a prayer. But one thing is certain, namely, that a healthy vigorous Christian will be an evangelistic Christian — a teller of good news — one whose sympathies, desires, and energies, are ever going forth toward “the regions beyond.” “I must preach the gospel to other cities also, therefore am I sent.” Such was the language of the divine Evangelist.
DIE MITE VAN SPESIALE OUTORITEIT EN GESAG – Albert Theron
Ons is terug by Paulus, maar vandag praat ons oor die kontroversiële onderwerp van outoriteit en gesag. Is daar in ons tyd nog iets soos spesiale outoriteit wat ons noodsaak om ons eksklusief aan sekere apostoliese gesag te onderwerp? Kom ons gebruik weer vir Paulus as voorbeeld en dan werk ons van daar af. Het Paulus spesiale gesag gehad. Dis weereens goed om te hoor wat sê hy self.
“Paulus, ‘n apostel nie vanweë mense of deur ‘n mens nie, maar deur Jesus Christus en God die Vader wat Hom uit die dode opgewek het.” Gal. 1:1
“Paulus, ‘n apostel van Jesus Christus, volgens die bevel van God, ons Verlosser, en van die Here Jesus Christus, ons Hoop.” 1 Tim. 1:1
Ek dink nogal ons kan sê Paulus het spesiale outoriteit en gesag gehad. Maar hoe het hý dit bestuur?
“Want ons verkondig nie onsself nie, maar Christus Jesus as Here, en onsself as julle diensknegte om Jesus wil.” 2 Kor. 4:5
”Want ek is jaloers oor julle met ‘n goddelike jaloersheid, want ek het julle aan een man verbind, om julle as ‘n reine maagd aan Christus voor te stel.” 2 Kor. 11:2
Hy het nie homself verkondig nie en hy het ook nie mense aan homself probeer verbind nie, maar aan Jesus. Verder het hy altyd sy gesag uitgeoefen via die Skrif en onder die Hoofskap van Christus, nooit direk asof hy die gesag in sy persoon gehad het nie. Maak seker jy verstaan die verskil, want dit is krities belangrik. Miskien help dit om te hoor wat Paulus wel van homself as persoon te sê gehad het.
“Aan my, die geringste van al die heiliges, is hierdie genade gegee om onder die heidene die evangelie van die onnaspeurlike rykdom van Christus te verkondig.” Efesiërs 3:8
So selfs al sou iemand vandag wou aanspraak maak op spesiale outoriteit en gesag móét hulle dit beoefen op die manier wat Paulus dit gedoen het. Maar is daar nog apostels vandag wat Paulus en die ander apostoliese Bybelskrywers se spesiale en eksklusiewe soort gesag het? Definitief nie, en as selfs Paulus sy gesag beoefen het via die Skrif en onder Jesus se absolute en direkte Heerskappy oor elke menslike gewete is dit die hoogtepunt van arrogansie en eiewaan vir enigiemand om te dink hulle kan dit op ‘n ander manier doen as Paulus.
RETAINING THE FRESHNESS OF AFFECTION FOR CHRIST – C.A. Coates
We cannot be too careful as to the influences which we allow to act upon us. We are affected by all that we hear and by all that we read – unconsciously it may be. The damage is done before we know it; like Ephraim, we have grey hairs and know it not. … I am quite sure that a man cannot soak his mind in a newspaper every morning and retain freshness of affection for Christ. Of course a man in business may have to look at the market price of timber, or stone, or corn, just as a Christian slave in the apostle’s days might have had to go down to the market on his master’s business; but you may be sure that the Christian slave who knew what it was to be espoused to Christ would turn away as quickly as possible from the tumult of the market and the idle gossip of the street, and the harangue of the political orator would have little charm for his ear.
Some have said, “But I can hear and read things without being damaged by them if I do not allow them to have a place in my heart”. A very pertinent question for such persons would be, “What gain is there in occupying the mind with so much that is acknowledged to be unworthy of the heart”? But it is precisely in this way that the heart is drawn aside. The mind – the thoughts – are turned to things here, and the affections soon follow in the same direction. Nor is it a question if the actual retention in the memory of the things that are heard or read, but of the impression that is made on the mind, and the cast that is given to the thoughts by them. The mind is turned back to things here, and the speedy result of this is that the whole-hearted affection to which Christ was everything is lost, and perhaps soon regarded as only a temporary excitement of no practical value.
Ah! the Lord looks back to those hours of holy joy, of absorbing affection, of burning love; and He says, ” I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride”. Eight hundred years had passed in Israel’s history – long centuries of backsliding and rebellion but the Lord never forgot the brief moment in which He was everything to their hearts. How far has He to look back to find such a moment in your history or mine?
OUR JOY IS IN GOD HIMSELF – C.H. Spurgeon
The believer who is in a spiritually healthy state rejoices mainly in God himself; he is happy because there is a God, and because God is in his person and character what he is. All the attributes of God become well-springs of joy to the thoughtful, contemplative believer; for such a man says within his soul, “All these attributes of my God are mine: his power, my protection; his wisdom, my guidance; his faithfulness, my foundation; his grace, my salvation.” He is a God who cannot lie, faithful and true to his promise; he is all love, and at the same time infinitely just, supremely holy. Why, the contemplation of God to one who knows that this God is his God for ever and ever, is enough to make the eyes overflow with tears, because of the deep, mysterious, unutterable bliss which fills the heart.
There was nothing in the character of Jupiter, or any of the pretended gods of the heathen, to make glad a pure and holy spirit, but there is everything in the character of Jehovah both to purify the heart and to make it thrill with delight. How sweet is it to think over all the Lord has done; how he has revealed himself of old, and especially how he has displayed his glory in the covenant of grace, and in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. How charming is the thought that he has revealed himself to me personally, and made me to see in him my Father, my friend, my helper, my God. Oh, if there be one word out of heaven that cannot be excelled, even by the brightness of heaven itself, it is this word, “My God, my Father,” and that sweet promise, “I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.” There is no richer consolation to be found: even the Spirit of God can bring nothing home to the heart of the Christian more fraught with delight than that blessed consideration. When the child of God, after admiring the character and wondering at the acts of God, can all the while feel “he is my God; I have taken him to be mine; he has taken me to be his; he has grasped me with the hand of his powerful love; having loved me with an everlasting love, with the bands of lovingkindness has he drawn me to himself; my beloved is mine and I am his;” why, then, his soul would fain dance like David before the ark of the Lord, rejoicing in the Lord with all its might.
RUIMHARTIGE BLYDSKAP IN MEDE-GELOWIGES – Albert Theron
”Maak vir ons ruimte in julle harte. Ons het niemand onreg aangedoen nie, ons het niemand benadeel nie, ons het op niemand voordeel behaal nie. Ek sê dit nie om te veroordeel nie, want ek het vantevore gesê dat julle in ons harte is om saam te sterwe en saam te lewe. Ek het groot vrymoedigheid teenoor julle; my roem oor julle is groot; ek is vervul met troos; ek loop oor van blydskap in al ons verdrukking.” 2 Kor. 7:2-4
Ons blydskap “in die Here” (Fil. 4:4) is in die Bybel baie pertinent ook gekoppel aan ons blydskap in diegene wat saam met ons “in die Here” is. Die gemeente in Korinthe het vir Paulus baie probleme gegee, maar hy wou vir hulle hier laat verstaan dat hy nie sy hart teenoor hulle gesluit het nie. Hy het in geloof aangehou om hulle “in Christus” te sien. Hy het nie geswig vir die versoeking om hulle “na die vlees” (5:16) te begin ken en beoordeel nie. En daarom kon hy sê dat hy oorloop van blydskap te midde van al die verdrukking en swaarkry wat hy beleef het. Sodoende wou hy by hulle verruiming van hart bring om die vreugde van verhoudings “in Christus” te leer ken. Dit is so anders as verhoudings in die wêreld.
Hierin is ‘n baie groot les vir almal van ons. In al ons menseverhoudinge het ons nodig om te volhard in ruimhartige blydskap oor mekaar. Dit sal egter net vir ons ‘n teorie bly en die gevalle werklikheid sal ons aanhou oorweldig as ons nie verstaan dat ons nodig het om mekaar gedurig “in Christus” te sien nie. Ons moet gedissiplineerd en gelowig dink binne die kader van die groot verlossing wat God vir gevalle mense bewerkstellig het in Sy geliefde Seun. Dit is dan ook net “in die Geliefde” wat ons kan uitstyg bo die gebrokenheid van verhoudings op hierdie aarde na ‘n plek waar ons ‘n bonatuurlike vreugde kan begin beleef in en oor mekaar. Hoekom? Want ons begin gló en begin mekaar dan evangelies oortuig dat hierdie wonderbaarlike verlossing “in Christus” ten spyte van ons stadige vordering besig is om ons almal te verander en meer soos Jesus te maak!
ONS BLYDSKAP IS NIE VAN HIERDIE WÊRELD NIE – Albert Theron
“Bedink die dinge wat daarbo is, nie wat op die aarde is nie. Want julle het gesterwe, en julle lewe is saam met Christus verborge in God.” Kolossense 3:2-3
Dis is verstommend om te sien hoe konsekwent die skrywers van die Nuwe Testament aandring daarop dat dit moontlik is vir dissipels van Jesus om te leef in ‘n konstante blydskap in Hom. Blydskap is nie opsioneel vir ‘n dissipel nie. Dit is ‘n integrale deel van ons basiese mondering vir ons lewe in ‘n gevalle en gebroke wêreld. Sonder blydskap het ons getuienis bykans geen impak nie en sonder blydskap is ons ‘n maklike teiken vir die satan, want sy versoekinge belowe altyd ‘n alternatiewe blydskap.
Daarom is dit so dringend belangrik vir ons om te verstaan dat die blydskap waarvan die Nuwe Testament praat nie van hierdie wêreld is nie. Ons blydskap is in die evangelie. Ons blydskap is in Christus en in ons mede-dissipels. Daar is vir seker ‘n blydskap wat altyd sy opwagting maak wanneer ons dankbaar is vir alles wat ons in hierdie tydelike dimensie van God ontvang. Maar daardie soort blydskap is net ‘n bonus vir die dissipel van Jesus. Dit is eers wanneer ons fokus wegskuif van die aardse en die tydelike dat ons die onbeskryflike, hemelse vreugde beleef wat die Nuwe Testament so baie oor te sê het.
Hoe meer ons fokus wegskuif van hierdie aarde en ons nou-al begin leef in die heerlikheid van die nuwe hemel en aarde wat kom, hoe meer sal hierdie besonderse soort blydskap ‘n konstante in ons lewens word. Hoe lyk dit met jou blydskap? Op en af? Karig? Afwesig? Skuif jou fokus na die ewige en onveranderlike nuwe skeppingswerklikhede in Christus en konstante blydskap sal die heerlike byproduk wees. Gewaarborg!
THERE IS NO LIMIT TO THE INTENSITY OF JOY IN JESUS – John Piper
It is true that a passion for happiness can be misdirected to wrong objects, but it cannot be too strong. Jonathan Edwards argued for this in a sermon that he preached on Song of Solomon 5:1. The text reads, “Eat, friends, drink, and be drunk with love!”
Edwards drew out of the text the following doctrine: “Persons need not and ought not to set any bounds to their spiritual and gracious appetites.” Instead, he says, they ought to be endeavoring by all possible ways to inflame their desires and to obtain more spiritual pleasures. . . . Our hungerings and thirstings after God and Jesus Christ and after holiness can’t be too great for the value of these things, for they are things of infinite value. . . . [Therefore] endeavor to promote spiritual appetites by laying yourself in the way of allurement. . . . There is no such thing as excess in our taking of this spiritual food. There is no such virtue as temperance in spiritual feasting.”
Therefore, be encouraged that God made you to rejoice in him. Do not settle for any lesser joy. Lay yourself in the way of allurement. That is, fix your eyes on the all-satisfying treasure of Jesus Christ who loved us and gave his life as a ransom for our everlasting joy.
WOORDE WAT TROOS, GENEES EN VERKWIK – Albert Theron
Met ons wedergeboorte het God die “hart van klip” verwyder en ons ‘n “hart van vlees” gegee (Eseg. 36:26). En tog het ons vernuwing van ons denke en geestelike groei nodig om te leer om te leef as mense wat ‘n radikale geestelike hartoorplating gehad het.
Hierdie vernuwing en geestelike groei het ook baie bepaalde betrekking op ons tong. Ons moet leer om te kommunikeer vanuit die evangelie. Ons moet leer om woorde te spreek wat troos, genees en verkwik. Sulke woorde kan soms baie reguit wees en dit moet altyd strook met die waarheid, maar dit moet woorde van wysheid wees wat gerig is daarop om te verkwik en genees. Selfs al is dit woorde van vermaning is genesing altyd die doel.
Die wêreld is gevalle en korrup en daarom is dit ‘n koue en harde plek. Ons het nodig om anders met mekaar te praat as wat die wêreld met mekaar praat. Dit verg fokus en oefening, maar bowenal die bediening van die Heilige Gees in ons binneste. Dit is Hy alleen wat ons ‘n “geoefende tong” gee om vermoeides te kan “verkwik met woorde”.
“Die Here HERE het My ‘n geoefende tong gegee, dat Ek kan weet om die vermoeide te verkwik met woorde; Hy wek elke môre, Hy wek my oor om te hoor soos die leerlinge.” Jesaja 50:4
Dink ook biddend oor die volgende tekste. Mag die Here vir almal van ons ‘n rewolusie van woorde gee; ‘n nuwe tong saam met die nuwe hart.
“Die tong van die regverdige is uitgesoekte silwer…” Spreuke 10:20a
“Daar is een wat onverskillig woorde uitspreek soos swaardsteke, maar die tong van die wyse is genesing.” Spreuke 12:18
“As daar dan enige troos in Christus is, as daar enige vertroosting van die liefde, as daar enige gemeenskap van die Gees, as daar enige innige tederheid en ontferming is.” Filippense 2:1
DIVINE LOVE DEMANDS LOVE OF THE BRETHREN – Austin Sparks
Well, of course, on the simple basis of our conversion we know that to be true at the beginning – that whereas, before, we had no particular love for Christians, afterward, when we had come to the Lord, we found we had an altogether new feeling toward other children of God. That was the simple beginning. But it is the beginning, the basis. John is carrying us beyond the beginning. He is speaking to us, as in the case of those to whom he wrote, as to people who know the Lord, to people of God who have the Spirit. He says, “The anointing which ye received of him abides in you, and you need not that any one teach you; but… his anointing teaches you concerning all things…” (1 John 2:27). He is writing to those who are getting on in the spiritual life. When we come there, it is possible that in some way a root of bitterness may spring up in us toward our brother.
It is possible that you may fail of the love of God. It is possible that this very basic nature of your relationship with the Lord should be numbed for want of love, that your whole spiritual life should come under arrest and be paralyzed, and you cease to be a vital factor and have a real living communion with your Lord day by day, all because the basic love in some way has been arrested or injured. What was the mark of your initial relationship with the Lord? It was the love of God shed abroad in your heart, and you loved other Christians tremendously. That can be changed in such a way that you do not love other Christians as at the beginning. You thought then that all Christians were very wonderful: no questions were asked; they simply belonged to the Lord and that was all that mattered. Since then, you have begun to have questions about Christians, and not only Christians in general, but sometimes Christians in particular. You have come to know that Christians are still human beings and not angels, not that consummate thing you perhaps thought Christians were at the beginning. You have come to some disappointment about them and are really up against something now in them, and your basic relationship with God is being touched. If you do not somehow get over that and find a way through, if you do not have a new accession of Divine love, your very walk with God is going to be arrested, you are going to lose your precious and joyous communion with your Lord, and there will come a shadow between you and your Father. You will find that the only way to get rid of the shadow is to get victory over that un-love toward those of His children who are concerned.
SLEGS GEBROKENHEID BY DIE KRUIS BRING HERDERLIKE BEDIENING AAN ANDER – Christo Botes
“Maar Ek het vir jou gebid, dat jou geloof nie ophou nie; en as jy eendag bekeerd is, moet jy jou broeders versterk.” Lukas 22:32
“Die dag as jy tot jouself kom, het ek vir jou ‘n bediening”. Want alle mense wat hulle bekeer, kry ‘n bediening. Dit is die wonder daarvan. Hoe ek ookal my Heiland verloën, hoe ek ookal in die vlees gaan, hoe ek ookal wegstaan van Hom af, hoeveel keer ek ookal gesondig het – die moment as ek my bekeer en my hart skeur, en innerlik terugdraai na die Christus, sonder dat ek enige wins daarvoor verlang of verwag, of enige vlees byvoeg – daardie oomblik het Hy vir my ‘n bediening. En die bediening van Petrus is so lieflik, want Hy sê: “Gaan en versterk die ander.” Dit wil sê: “Ek is die Herder wat geslaan word, maar as jy hierdie nag saam met My deurgemaak het, en jy behoort nog aan My, word jy ‘n herder nes ek. Petrus, laat my skape wei. Petrus, laat my lammers wei.”
THE SIGN OF A TRUE CHURCH – Andrew Murray
“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:35
We are taught in most of our creeds that the true church is to be found where God’s Word is faithfully and accurately preached and the sacraments are dispensed as instituted by Christ. Christ Himself takes a much broader view. To Him, the distinguishing mark of His followers is not merely what the church teaches—but how we live our lives showing love to each other. Jesus’ death on the cross was love at its highest. We owe everything to this love. Love is the power that moved Christ to die for us. In love, God highly exalted Him as Lord and Christ. Love is the power that broke our hearts, and love is the power that heals them. Love is the power through which Christ dwells and works in us. Love can change my nature and enable me to surrender to God. It gives me strength to live a holy, joyous life, full of blessing to others.
Every Christian should show the love of God. Many Christians are sure it is impossible to lead such a life, and they do not even greatly desire it. They do not understand that we may and can love with God’s own love. If we fully believe that the Holy Spirit, dwelling within us, will maintain this heavenly love from hour to hour, we will be able to understand the words of Christ: “Anything is possible if a person believes” (Mark 9:23). Then we will be able to love God with all our hearts, to love family and friends and even our enemies.
THERE ARE TIMES WHEN SILENCE IS WISER THAN SPEECH –
“While I was musing the fire burned.” Psalm 39:3.
The Psalm may teach us that there are times when solitude is better than society and silence is wiser than speech. The company of sinners was a grief to David’s soul and because their converse was profane he chose, rather, to fly away from their midst—or if they must still continue in his presence, he determined that he would resolutely seal his lips. Touchingly he says, “I was dumb with silence (that is, utterly dumb), I held my peace, even from good.” This painful necessity soon proved to him a pleasing occasion. While he yielded himself up to the thoughts, the reveries and the pensive workings of his own heart, a sacred fire of devotion was kindled in his breast.
And, brethren, whatever the circumstances of the Psalmist, you will all see that the exercise was profitable. And however peculiar the advantages of meditation at particular seasons, it may not be amiss for us to make it a common habit. Inverting a popular proverb, “What was one man’s medicine may be food for others,” there is much that is light and frothy in our ordinary communion. And our communications, one with another, soon grow frothy and insipid when we have no definite matter in hand. Whether, therefore, to free ourselves from the stress of business, or to escape from the temptations of idleness, let it be thought worthy of note that “musing” has sweet charms and calm reflection is capable of kindling a bright fire.
DIE WONDERWERK VAN STILSWYE – Albert Theron
‘n Mens se woorde kan of ‘n bron van geweldige seën wees of dit kan onberekenbare skade bring in ander se lewens. Jakobus sê dat die tong wat buite beheer is fatale gevolge kan bring vir diegene wat deurloop onder dit.
“Maar die tong kan geen mens tem nie; dit is ‘n onbedwingbare kwaad, vol dodelike gif.” Jakobus 3:8
Die implikasie in hierdie vers is dat God alleen die tong kan tem. Daar is nie ‘n mens op aarde wat totale beheer oor sy of haar tong het nie. Party van ons praat meer as ander, maar almal van ons laat met tye toe dat woorde by ons mond uitkom wat nooit die daglig moes gesien het nie. Net God kan ons tong tem en daarom is dit so belangrik dat ons onder leiding van die Heilige Gees sal leef. Ons het daagliks die wonderwerk van stilswye nodig. D.w.s. ons moet leer om die Here te vertrou om, selfs wanneer die versoeking groot is om die tong soos ‘n swaard te gebruik of om kwaad te praat van ander, eers te swyg totdat Hy sê ons kan maar praat en Hy ons die regte woorde gegee het. Dit verg inderdaad ‘n wonderwerk!
Hier is ‘n Bybelse gebed wat ons almal sekerlik nodig het om gereeld te bid.
“HERE, stel ‘n wag voor my mond, bewaar die deur van my lippe.” Psalm 141:3
WHEN JESUS CHRIST CONTROLS THE TONGUE – Warren Wiersbe
If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. 4 Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. James 3:3-4
There are circumstances around us that would make us say things we ought not to say. Sin on the inside and pressures on the outside are seeking to get control of the tongue. This means that both the bit and the rudder must be under the control of a strong hand. The expert horseman keeps the mighty power of his steed under control, and the experienced pilot courageously steers the ship through the storm. When Jesus Christ controls the tongue, then we need not fear saying the wrong things—or even saying the right things in a wrong way! “Death and life are in the power of the tongue,” warned Solomon (Prov. 18:21). No wonder David prayed, “Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips. Incline not my heart to any evil thing” (Ps. 141:3–4). David knew that the heart is the key to right speech. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matt. 12:34).
When Jesus Christ is the Lord of the heart, then He is Lord of the lips too. The bit and rudder have the power to direct, which means they affect the lives of others. A runaway horse or a shipwreck could mean injury or death to pedestrians or passengers. The words we speak affect the lives of others. A judge says “Guilty!” or “Not Guilty!” and those words affect the destiny of the prisoner, his family, and his friends. The President of the United States speaks a few words and signs some papers and the nation is at war. Even a simple yes or no from the lips of a parent can greatly affect the direction of a child’s life. Never underestimate the guidance you give by the words you speak or do not speak. Jesus spoke to a woman at a well, and her life and the lives of her neighbors experienced a miraculous change (John 4). Peter preached at Pentecost and 3,000 souls came to salvation through faith in Christ (Acts 2). On April 21, 1855, Edward Kimball went into a Boston shoe store and led young Dwight L. Moody to Christ. The result: one of history’s greatest evangelists, a man whose ministry still continues. The tongue has the power to direct others to the right choices.
DIE GEVAAR VAN DIE ONGETEMDE TONG – Albert Theron
Daar was ‘n versoeker in die tuin van Eden en hy het op ‘n baie slinkse manier die mens gelei na ongehoorsaamheid aan God en gevolglike slawerny aan homself. Voortaan sou hierdie verleier en versoeker die kitaar slaan in die mens se binneste, terwyl hy alles in sy vermoë doen om die mens onder die illusie te hou dat hyself in beheer is van sy eie lewe.
“Waarin julle tevore gewandel het volgens die loop van hierdie wêreld, volgens die owerste van die mag van die lug, van die gees wat nou in die kinders van die ongehoorsaamheid werk.” Efesiërs 2:2
Alle ongelowiges wandel “volgens die owerste van die mag van die lug”. Daarom maak Jakobus 3 die verstommende stelling dat die tong “uit die hel aangesteek” word.
“Die tong is ook ‘n vuur, die wêreld van ongeregtigheid. Net so ‘n plek neem die tong onder ons lede in; dit besmet die hele liggaam en steek die hele lewensloop aan die brand en word uit die hel aangesteek.” Jakobus 3:6
As dissipels van Jesus in wantroue van hulle eie wysheid “wandel deur die Gees” het hulle die besondere voorreg om die getemde tong te beleef wat as’t ware dan uit die hemel aangesteek word wanneer hulle wel spreek. Indien hulle egter nie waaksaam is en wakker vir die gevaar van die ongetemde tong nie gaan hulle steeds met tye beleef dat daardie ongetemde tong “uit die hel aangesteek” word.
Mag ons almal wawyd wakker wees vir die gevare van die ongetemde tong. Op geen ander manier sal ons, ons dringende afhanklikheid van die Heilige Gees in hierdie verband kan insien nie.
THE BALANCE BETWEEN SPEECH AND SILENCE – Sinclair Ferguson
The control of the tongue has both negative and positive aspects. It involves the ability to restrain the tongue in silence. But it also means being able to control it in gracious speech when that is required.
Sanctification in any area of our lives always expresses this double dimension — a putting off and a putting on, as it were. Speech and silence, appropriately expressed, are together the mark of the mature (compare with one of the clearest illustrations of this in Colossians 3:1-17). Nor is this [James 3:1-12] James’s first reference to speech. He had already noted that for a professing Christian to fail to bridle the tongue is to be guilty of self-deception (1:22–25) and the hallmark of a person whose religion is worthless (1:26). One might think here of the ease of speech but emptiness of weighty words in the life of John Bunyan’s Mr. Talkative. He was all talk but no control, all words but without weight.
But with all of this said, James is forced into a confession. Nobody — Jesus excepted — has succeeded in mastering the tongue! Our only hope as we pursue the discipline of self that leads to mastery of the tongue is that we are Christ’s and that we are being made increasingly like him. But this battle for vocal holiness is a long-running one, and it needs to be waged incessantly, daily, hourly.
Are we fighting it?
CHRIST BECOMING WISDOM TO US – Watchman Nee
God has not changed foolish men into wise; rather, He has made Christ our wisdom; Christ has become wisdom to us from God. Suppose a matter needs great wisdom to handle and settle it. You may try this way and that way in vain; your little mind may be exhausted, yet you still cannot come up with a solution. Then you say, “Lord, I am foolish. If it is left up to me to do, I will surely not be able to make it. I can only look to You. You do it for me.” After you have trusted in the Lord this way, the Lord may direct you to do something, say something, or take some action, and you may not even be aware of the great wisdom involved in doing these things. But after you have done them, one day you will say, “What I did that day was not something that I could have done by myself. What I said that day was not something that I could have said by myself.” This means that you have not changed at all; it was the Lord who became your wisdom. This is Christ becoming wisdom to you. Originally, we had to handle things by ourselves, yet we could not handle them. So we allowed Christ to be our wisdom.
We have to remember that Christ’s wisdom does not become our wisdom. In addition, Christ is not giving us wisdom so that we can become wise. Instead, Christ in us is becoming wisdom to us. Wisdom belongs to the Lord and not to us. He is our wisdom; He is becoming our wisdom. Brothers and sisters, if we know what it means for Christ to “become,” we can live a proper life before the Lord.
UITEINDELIK IS ONS WEER BYMEKAAR – Christo Botes
“Want dit is my bloed, die bloed van die nuwe testament, wat vir baie uitgestort word tot vergifnis van sondes. Maar Ek sê vir julle: Ek sal van nou af nooit meer van hierdie vrug van die wynstok drink nie, tot op daardie dag wanneer Ek dit met julle nuut sal drink in die koninkryk van my Vader.” Mattheüs 26:28-29
Matthéüs is die enigste van die evangelies wat sê: “Ek sal dit weer drink met julle”. Die twee woordjies, “met julle”, staan net in Matthéüs. Daardeur doen Hy ‘n geweldige ding. Hy koppel hierdie kringetjie wat hier sit aan die kringetjie daar ver vorentoe. “Ek sal weer met julle, eendag….” waarmee Hy sê, deur die vergifnis van sonde kan niemand julle van My skei nie, maar ek bind julle ook só aanmekaar dat niemand julle van mekaar sal kan skei nie. Ek konstitueer nou My Liggaam, of die kerk, in julle elf, en Ek en my Kerk, deur watter woestyne, deur watter ellende, deur watter probleme, deur watter vervolging, deur watter dood, hoeveel martelare, hoeveel van julle bloed sal vloei, hoe julle ookal uitmekaar geslaan word, hierdie nag of later, of deur die eeue, in verskillende volkere of lande – uiteindelik is ons weer bymekaar. Daardie aand bepaal Hy die toekoms en Hy sê vir hulle: “Die voleinding is verseker”.
THERE ARE ONLY TWO KINDS OF PEOPLE IN THE UNIVERSE –
Our history, our heritage, our lineage, our culture, the earthly things that we identify with, the things that make us who we think we are – all of it ends at the Cross of Christ. He is the Alpha: all things have their beginning in Him. He is the Omega: all things have their ending in Him. So my identity is not found in the fact that I am white, male, Charismatic, or American. “White power” and “black pride” and “rugged American individualism” is flesh: that is earthly, it is of the earth. It is death. We ought to avoid it like cancer. What is a Messianic Jew? What is a Charismatic Christian? What is a Fundamentalist? What is a Calvinist? What is a Baptist? What is a Methodist? What is a Catholic? What is a Religious Conservative? I tell you, there is nothing like that in Christ – these are all human contrivances. There are only two kinds of people in the universe. Either you are in Him, or you are not in Him. Everything else is just clutter.
I am not saying that you should shirk your responsibilities. Remember, Daniel was faithful in all his duties, and no fault was found in him. Yet he was able to separate what he did from who he was. His identity was not based on his position or his calling, but on his standing in Heaven. That is all that matters. I am asking you: are you willing to stop being an American? Are you willing to stop being a black woman? Are you willing to stop being a Charismatic? Are you willing to stop being a Methodist? What I mean is, are you willing to be reduced to Christ and “just” be an anonymous follower of Jesus, a nondescript branch among many other branches who are abiding in the Vine, and leave your own identity behind?
If you are unwilling to leave your ground and come onto the ground of Christ where everyone is equal, then you will never see anything from Heaven’s perspective. Everything will be filtered through that earthly identity. But if you lose your life here, then you will find your true Life, and that Life is from Above, not Below. That is the secret to power with God. Earthly challenges (like a lion’s den, for instance) cannot be overcome with Earthly thinking, Earthly attitudes, or Earthly prejudices. It takes someone from Above to subdue something from Below. It takes something Heavenly to confront something Earthly and prevail over it.
WHAT THE HOLY SPIRIT CAME TO DO – Austin Sparks
The Holy Spirit came to reproduce Jesus Christ in the lives of men and women. The Church is that or it is nothing; the teaching relates to that, or it has no meaning. Any movement of the Spirit is in that direction, or we have entirely misunderstood. He came to reproduce the Lord Jesus in the lives of men and women! Everything has to be tested by that. All our activities and efforts and energies and expenditure; all our sacrifice and machinery, our movements and our teaching: everything that has become a part of ‘Christianity’ has to be tested by one rule: Is it resulting in the reproduction of Jesus Christ in the lives of men and women, so that it is demonstrated from heaven that Jesus is as truly here in this world now as ever He was in history? He should, indeed, be present here, not only as powerfully as then, but even more so, because He spoke of Himself as being limited until the Spirit came. He should be present, not only in works such as He did then, but, according to His own words, in “greater works than these” that believers should do, “because I go to the Father” (John 14:12: cf. vv. 16-18; ch. 16:7-15; Luke 12:50).
That is how it was in those first thirty years; that was the thing that men everywhere realised. The presence of Christ was the great impress. “They took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13). That was why the believers were called ‘Christ-ians’ – ‘Christ-ones’! It was the only way of explaining. It is Christ! The Holy Spirit came for that. And if there is to be any continuation or repetition of those experiences, it will only be – it will only be – not merely through a belief in Jesus Christ, His Deity, His sinlessness, His atonement, as doctrines, but as by the Holy Spirit He is livingly present in us. In those early days it was just that: that, by the Holy Spirit, Christ was present in these believers in a mighty way. When you think or speak of being ‘filled with the Spirit’, what do you mean? What do we really mean by that expression? Well, what the New Testament means by being ‘filled with the Spirit’ is simply being filled with the Lord Jesus.
THE NEW SPEECH OF THE NEW MAN IN CHRIST – Austin Sparks
The new man of the spirit has to learn a new speech. There is the language of the spirit, and he will have to realise increasingly that “speech in the enticing words of man’s wisdom,” or what man calls “excellency of speech” (1 Cor. 2:1) will avail nothing in spiritual service. If all the religious speech and preaching and talking about the Gospel which goes on in one week was the utterance of the Holy Spirit, what tremendous impact of God upon the world would be registered. But it is obviously not so and this impact is not felt.
It is impossible to speak in and by the Holy Spirit without something happening which is related to Eternity. But this capacity belongs only to the “born of the Spirit” ones, whose spirit has been joined to the Lord, and even they have to learn how to cease from their own words and “speak as they are moved by the Spirit.” It is a part of the education of the inner man to have his outer man slain in the matter of speech, and to be brought to the state to which Jeremiah was brought, “I am but a child, I cannot speak.” Not only as sinners have we to be crucified with Christ, but as preachers, or speakers, or talkers. The circumcision of Christ, which Paul says is the cutting off of the whole body of the flesh, has to be applied to our lips, and our spirit has to be so much in dominion that on all matters where God cannot be glorified we “cannot speak.” A natural facility of speech is no strength in itself to spiritual ministry, it may be a positive menace. It is a stage of real spiritual development when there is a genuine fear of speaking unless it is in “words which the Holy Spirit teaches.”
WOORDE VAN WYSHEID UIT ‘N NUWE BRON – Albert Theron
Die Bybel het baie te sê oor die verskil tussen die wyse en die dwaas, veral in die boek Spreuke. Hierdie gedeeltes is bedoel om vir ons ‘n spieël te wees van ons eie kondisie sodat ons kan bepaal of ons lewe soos die wyse of die dwaas. Een van die kenmerke van die wyse is dat sy woorde genesing bring en die regte pad vir ander aandui.
Dit is egter so maklik om vas te val in sekere patrone in ons lewe soos wat ons ouer word. In ons reaksies op mense en omstandighede begin ons dan soms dink en praat soos “die dwaas” wat die Bybel van praat, selfs al is ons dalk werklik dissipels van Jesus.
“Daar is een wat onverskillig woorde uitspreek soos swaardsteke, maar die tong van die wyse is genesing.” Spreuke 12:18
Die vraag is hoe kan ons losbreek van hierdie patrone en gewoontes? In die Nuwe Testament sien ons dat Christus ons wysheid geword het (1 Kor. 1:30). Ons het met die wedergeboorte ‘n nuwe hart ontvang en nou word ons aangemoedig om te leef uit ‘n nuwe bron. Hierdie Bron is Christus self. Hy is nou ons wysheid en lewe.
“Die hart van die wyse maak sy mond verstandig en vermeerder die lering op sy lippe.” Spreuke 16:23
As dit die hart van die wyse is wat dit vir hom moontlik maak om woorde van wysheid te spreek, is dit goeie nuus vir dissipels, want ons het nuwe harte in Christus ontvang. Prakties beteken dit egter ons moet wegdraai van die verkeerde bron (aangeleerde patrone en gewoontes) en in geloof begin leef uit die regte Bron. As jy nie onwrikbaar glo dat jy in Christus toegang het tot al die wysheid van Christus nie sal jy nooit die ou patrone en gewoontes kan afleer sodat jy woorde van wysheid kan spreek uit ‘n nuwe Bron nie.
NUWE SPRAAK IN CHRISTUS – Albert Theron
Nuwe spraak is een van die vele geskenke van die evangelie.
‘Hy wat in My glo, soos die Skrif sê: strome van lewende water sal uit sy binneste vloei.” Johannes 7:38
Voor ons wedergeboorte was ons duisternis en het ons gepraat uit ‘n bron van duisternis, naamlik die gevalle menslike hart .
“Want vroeër was julle duisternis, maar nou is julle lig in die Here—wandel soos kinders van die lig.” Efesiërs 5:8
Ons daaglikse voertaal was godslastering, ongeloof, ondankbaarheid, vervloeking, veroordeling, bitterheid, leuens, skinder, growwe en kru woorde en grappe, ligsinnigheid, negatiewe kritiek, afbrekende spraak, verkleinering van ander, ensovoorts. Kortliks, woorde van die dood.
In Christus het daar vir ons ‘n nuwe wêreld oopgegaan en kan ons nou in geloof ons nuwe spraak ontvang en daarin begin leef. Dan word ons daaglikse voertaal lofprysing, dankbaarheid, seën, opbouende spraak, woorde van vergifnis, wysheid, nederigheid, reinheid, regverdigheid, waarheid, ensovoorts. Kortliks, woorde van die lewe. Hoe lyk dit met jou spraak? Het jy al hierdie kosbare geskenk van die evangelie in geloof vir jouself toegeëien?
IS YOUR MOUTH A MEANS OF GRACE – John Piper
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29
It is not Christian just to stop swearing. It is not Christian just to put good language in the mouth instead. It is Christian to ask the deeper, internal question: am I speaking now to edify? Is your mouth a means of grace?
All our secular work is to be a display of grace; and all our speech is to be a display of grace. Do you see how all-encompassing and how far reaching our Christian faith must be? These are amazing verses about the grace of God in our lives.
If my mother had only washed out my mouth with soap, and never prayed and labored to wash out my unloving heart with the gospel of the grace of God, I might today have an antiseptic mouth, but I probably wouldn’t be a Christian.
A Christian is a person whose rotten root within has been made new by grace through faith in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. The grace of God has taken the hate and anger and resentment that spill over in mean and vulgar and irreverent language, and has covered them with the blood of Christ and killed them along with the old unbelieving self.
GUARD AGAINST DISCOURAGEMENT – J.R. Miller
“He himself went a day’s journey into the desert. He came to a juniper tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” 1 Kings 19:4
He was sorely discouraged. It seemed to him that all he had done, had come to nothing. There are few things we need more to guard against than discouragement. When once we come under its influence, it makes us weak, robbing us of our hope and making cowards of us. Many a life is discrowned and drawn down to failure, through discouragement.
It is surely a sad picture: this greatest of the old prophets lying there under the little bush, in the wilderness, longing to die! If he had died then and there, what an inglorious ending it would have made of his life! As it was, however, he lived to do further glorious work and to see great results from his contest with idolatry. God was kinder to him, than he knew. It is wrong to wish ourselves dead. Life is God’s gift to us, a sacred trust for which we shall have to give account. While God keeps us living—he has something for us to do. Our prayer should be for grace to do our duty bravely and well unto the end. From Elijah’s after-experience, we learn that we would never be cast down by any discouraging experiences. The things we think have failed are often only slowly ripening into rich success. We have only to be faithful to God and to duty, and we may always rejoice. What seems failure—is often best success.
DIE SENSITIEWE INSTELLING TUSSEN MY EN DIE VADER –
Dit is baie belangrik dat ons moet stiltetyd hou en Bybel lees en bid, selfs al voel ek nie eers ‘n seën nie en al beleef ek nie iets besonders nie. Dit is ‘n basiese dissipline waarmee ek nooit mag ophou nie. Maar dit is uiters belangrik dat ek by momente in my lewe kom waar ek ‘n bietjie meer tyd maak as net Bybel lees en bid – en kyk of daar nie ‘n geestelike aansluiting net weer kan wees tussen my en die Vader nie. Dat as ek uit my stiltetyd uitgaan, daardie geestelike instelling tussen my en die Vader behoue bly. Want honderde goed beroof dit.
Baie mense het moeilike omstandighede, moeilike werkplekke, moeilike mense tussen wie hulle werk, ontsettende druk programme. En dan gaan die sensitiwiteit verlore en ek het Hom lief en ek dien Hom en ek gaan aan, maar daar is geen sensitiewe instelling meer tussen my en die Vader nie. En dit is goed waarin die Heilige Gees my graag wil in laat groei en volwassenheid bring, ook in daardie areas van my lewe.
CHURCH ESSENTIALS – A.W. Tozer
The Church as announced by Christ, seen in the book of Acts and explained by Paul is a thing of great simplicity and rare beauty.
The church as we see it today is unsymmetrical, highly complex and anything but beautiful. Indeed I think that if some angel of God were made familiar with the church as it appears in the New Testament and then sent to the earth to try to locate it, it would be extremely doubtful whether the heavenly messenger would recognize anything now existing in the field of religion as the church he was looking for. So far have we departed from the pattern shown us in the mount.
The church as the New Testament pictures it is any company of regenerate believers met in the name of Jesus Christ. Such a company is called out from the world and gathered to Christ as a flock of sheep is gathered to the shepherd. The members of this company constitute a despised minority group standing in bold moral contradiction to the world. Their witness is Christ: His person, work, office and present position at the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens. They carry His gospel to the world and plead ”Be ye reconciled to God,” then they return to their own company to worship, pray, teach and listen to the Word of the Lord as it is expounded by men of God. They also exhort, testify and exercise for the good of all such spiritual gifts as each one may possess from the Spirit.
THE MARK OF THE CHRISTIAN – Francis Schaeffer
Through the centuries men have displayed many different symbols to show that they are Christians. They have worn marks in the lapels of their coats, hung chains about their necks, even had special haircuts. Of course, there is nothing wrong with any of this, if one feels it is his calling. But there is a much better sign — a mark that has not been thought up just as a matter of expediency for use on some special occasion or in some specific era. It is a universal mark that is to last through all the ages of the church till Jesus comes back. What is this mark? At the close of his ministry, Jesus looks forward to his death on the cross, the open tomb and the ascension. Knowing that he is about to leave, Jesus prepares his disciples for what is to come. It is here that he makes clear what will be the distinguishing mark of the Christian: My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come. A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:33-35) This passage reveals the mark that Jesus gives to label a Christian not just in one era or in one locality but at all times and all places until Jesus returns. Notice that what he says here is not a description of a fact. It is a command which includes a condition: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” An if is involved. If you obey, you will wear the badge Christ gave. But since this is a command, it can be violated. The point is that it is possible to be a Christian without showing the mark, but if we expect non-Christians to know that we are Christians, we must show the mark.
NIEMAND KAN LIEFDE VERSTAAN SONDER DIE KRUIS NIE –
Almal op aarde het ‘n idee van liefde en ons dink dat ons weet wat dit is en hoe dit veronderstel is om te werk. Die Bybel leer egter dat dit net via die kruisdood van Jesus is dat ons waarlik liefde kan verstaan en dat dit net die Heilige Gees is wat vir ons die dieptes van die liefde kan openbaar wat aan daardie kruis vir mense gedemonstreer is.
“En ons het die liefde wat God tot ons het, leer ken en geglo. God is liefde; en hy wat in die liefde bly, bly in God, en God in hom.” 1 Johannes 4:16
“Ons het lief omdat God ons eerste liefgehad het.” 1 Johannes 4:19 (NAV)
Hierdie tekste in 1 Johannes maak dit baie duidelik dat ons net liefde reg kan verstaan en werklik kan uitleef wanneer ons verstaan wat aan die kruis gebeur het. Daar het die Lam van God ons sondes gedra, die Onskuldige vir die skuldiges. Boonop het Hy nie gesterf vir die wat Hom goedgesind was nie, maar vir ons wat in ons harte vyande van God was. D.w.s almal van ons.
“Want as ons, terwyl ons nog vyande was, met God versoen is deur die dood van sy Seun, veel meer sal ons deur sy lewe gered word nou dat ons versoen is.” Romeine 5:10
Daar is soveel hartseer in menseverhoudinge en ongeag ons aandeel aan al die pyn dink ons steeds so maklik dat óns die liefde reg verstaan en dat ander maar net moet sien wat ons sien, dan sal alles reg wees. Die waarheid is dat ons álmal dwaal en ‘n self-gerigte idee van liefde het TOTDAT die Heilige Gees vir ons begin openbaar wat werklik aan die kruis gebeur het. Selfs vir ware dissipels van Jesus is dit nie ‘n eenmalige gebeurtenis nie, maar veronderstel om ‘n immer verdiepende openbaring en dan ervaring te wees. Op geen ander manier kan ons Goddelike liefde uitleef op ‘n gevalle aarde nie.
“Ons almal het gedwaal soos skape, ons het elkeen sy eie pad geloop; maar die HERE het die ongeregtigheid van ons almal op Hom laat neerkom.” Jesaja 53:6
LOVE SEEN IN OUR TEMPERS AND OUR WORDS – J.C. Ryle
“By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another.” John 13:35
Let us take heed that this well-known Christian grace is not merely a notion in our heads, but a practice in our lives. Of all the commands of our Master there is none which is so much talked about and so little obeyed as this. Yet, if we mean anything when we profess to have charity and love toward all men, it ought to be seen in our tempers and our words, our bearing and our doing, our behavior at home and abroad, our conduct in every relation of life.
Specially it ought to show itself forth in all our dealing with other Christians. We should regard them as brethren and sisters, and delight to do anything to promote their happiness. We should abhor the idea of envy, malice, and jealousy towards a member of Christ, and regard it as a downright sin. This is what our Lord meant when He told us to love one another. Christ’s cause in the earth would prosper far more than it does if this simple law was more honored. There is nothing that the world understands and values more than true charity [love]. The very men who cannot comprehend doctrine, and know nothing of theology, can appreciate charity. It arrests their attention, and makes them think. For the world’s sake, if for no other cause, let us follow after charity more and more.