Monthly Archives: March 2014

Sowing Discord

discord

Proverbs 6:16-19 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: 17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, 19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

While God is a God of love, He is also a God of hate. We know that God loves His Son Jesus, and that He hates sin, but it doesn’t end right there. He loves many more things. As we read the Bible, we can see that He loves mercy, truth, humility and kindness to mention just a very few. But here, in this one passage of Scripture, He gives a concentrated list of some of the more important things that He hates. They are all self-explanatory and even the child can understand what they are. However, when God gets to sowing “discord” among the brethren, He is now dealing with the church only, for we in the church are: brethren.

Discord is any attempt to gender disagreement or difference of opinion. It is attempting to put at variance or opposition to the rest of the body. It win’s it’s evil victory when it produces angry passions of dispute or contest between persons. It’s method of attack is to clash; it does not disagree with a proper attitude of love and therefore seeks it’s own exaltation. This is what the Lord HATES–discord AMONG THE BRETHREN.

You cannot have a group of people where people do not talk about other members within the group. It is common and natural to do so because; well, they all have something in common–the group. Discord therefore, has nothing to do with talking about other members in the group. It has to do with talking about others with the intent to divide and hurt the group. God hates this very much and will not long abide it within the church He is trying to build. It is important to remember that because I will come back to that later.

The greatest example of attempting to sow discord amongst the group (other than the Devil himself) was Judas Iscariot. He thought he could sell out the Lord and divide the group. He was motivated by greed and self. He wanted to be and feel important. He could be up there with the big wigs setting the direction of actions for the nation, but in fact he was used. Yes, the Pharisees used him, but more so, he was used by the Devil to carry out his attack on God’s work. That is what people who sow discord amongst the brethren do today. They are being used by the Devil and they don’t even realize it. They are an instrument of his destruction, yet they cannot see it, and like Judas, the Lord will separate them from the group in His own time. Until that time, they will be continually frustrated that they are not able to gain foothold, because the Lord protects His flock.
Some might say, “Doesn’t the Bible say that we are supposed to divide the word of truth in 2 Timothy 2:15?” Well, not exactly. It says there that we are to “RIGHTLY DIVIDE” the WORD OF TRUTH. This is not for sowing discord, but in being able to interpret it properly. If you continue to verse 16, the next thing it says is that we are to “…shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.” So, when a person is continually trying to sow discord amongst the brethren, God’s answer for this is to “shun”. This is not done in the old Quaker or Mennonite sense, but it means to don’t converse with them. Why? Because even if your guard is up, and even if you are determined to change the subject if you hear something divisive, the problem is that you still hear it. You can’t take it back. You can’t get it out of your mind. It is imbedded there and the Devil knows that. Your mind will ponder it, even if you don’t discuss it with anyone else, the seed is planted and it begins to grow into it’s evil work. So, the best thing to do is tell the person that you will not entertain any part of that subject, and if you persist, then I must leave. If there is no change on their part, and they persist in sowing discord, then it is best to not even fellowship with them. Love them, but don’t listen to someone who is saying things that are dividing up the brethren. Once it is in your mind, it will eat you up.

If you think you are unintentionally sowing discord amongst the brethren, then you need to ask the Lord for forgiveness. Then the best rule of thumb is to hold your tongue (James 3:5, 6, 8). Learn to be a good listener and not a talker. If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all.

If you are not sure if you are saying divisive things or not, you need to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to put His finger on that part of your life and identify it. You will know if the peace of God comes upon you. You will know if you are being true to yourself or not.
The vehicle of discord is GOSSIP. Gossip is a truly destructive thing. I am not talking about talking about each other. That is not gossip. Gossip is when you a person speaks idle tales; tattles; or tells destructive things about each other. You can always tell a gossip because they like to talk allot. They talk so much that it is difficult to end a conversation with them. They also like to say the same thing over and over. And, the subject of their conversation does not brag on or build another person up, it tears others down. Their conversations therefore, are usually filled with self exaltation at the expense of others. And this is where the discord comes in. To promote self, you must put down others, hence–discord.
Recently our church has come together with one common cause. The Devil does not like it when we are united. His attack will come in many forms, but all with the intention of sowing discord amongst the brethren. I trust this article will give you some insight on how to recognize it and what to do when you identify it. May God bless you richly as you serve the Lord.

The Spiritual Battlefield

One thing which is true of all followers of Christ, eventually you will have your time on the spiritual battlefield. 2 Chronicles 32 covers the actions that King Hezekiah took in order to defend Jerusalem from the Assyrian army, and gives great examples of what we should do in order to win our own spiritual battles:

  1. Secure Godly support. In verse 3, Hezekiah first consulted with those he trusted. If you don’t have Christian friends who are growing, advancing and deepening their walk with Christ, PRAY for some. Proverbs 15:22 tells us, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”
  2. Stop the flow of sin. Then, in verse 4, Hezekiah stopped the flow of water which would have given strength to the enemy. There are things which we sometimes allow into our lives which give strength to OUR enemy, the devil. One of the most important strategic moves in spiritual battle is to make sure that the flow of un-Godly, unrighteous, sinful “stuff” in our lives is stopped. It can come in many different forms, including television shows, movies, music, books or websites which contain material which is counter to what God’s word would have us consume.
  3. Repair, Restore and fortify. In verse 5, Hezekiah began making repairs to the wall around the city. The very nature of this undertaking required first examining the entire lower wall, to find the problem areas. Similarly, it is necessary that Christians examine their own lives often, to make sure there are no areas which make us easy prey for the enemy. Galatians 6:4-5 tells us, each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load.
  4. Weapons for battle. Verse 5 also mentions the weapons King Hezekiah made for his people. You and I are blessed to possess our own “armory”, prepared for us by our King. Read and study Ephesians 6:10-18 to learn more about the spiritual armor. If God’s people go into battle without these resources, we are defeated before we even begin.

The battle belongs to the Lord! Finally, verses 6 through 8 recount Hezekiah’s encouragement of the people for battle, as he reminded them that their enemies were simply fighting in the flesh, but the Israelites had the full power of God with them. He did not simply issue orders and edicts, and tell the people “We’re going to war! Get to your stations!” This king actually took the opportunity in what was a very tense time, to encourage the people, reminding them not of who THEY were, but of who their GOD was.

There are many different verses of encouragement in God’s word which remind us that God doesn’t just go into battle with us, but before us, preparing the way for victory. My wife recently reminded me of one, when she returned from a ministers’ wives retreat months ago. It was part of the short speech David gave to Goliath before he killed him in 1 Samuel 17. He said in verse 47, “the battle belongs to the LORD.”

God’s people will certainly find themselves involved in spiritual battles throughout their lives. However, as the people of God, not only do we need not fear defeat, but we can be assured of victory when we honor our Lord, and use the resources He has given us.

Why younger people don’t need God

Does your young person feel like they don’t need God?  I didn’t say church.  I said, “GOD!”  If you need God, then you know that you need church and you attend every chance you get.  

Recently I have been asked why young people don’t go to church.  Because churches seem to be filled with older people, the question is, “why are there not more younger people in church, and how do we reach this demographic?”

I have contemplated this question for a long time.  Because I have been posed this question, I have begun thinking of it all over again. However, I don’t think that this question should be posed to this one group.  It seems to me that all groups are affected, and there has been a broad moving away from church attendance.

I know that the mind, being quick to solve problems, will run the gamut of possible answers.  We could site: The last days, The influence of the Devil and the world, the media, Exaltation of fantasy, The impact of socialistic programs, removal of the Bible from schools, etc. etc.  All of these certainly contribute to the problem.  But if you take a closer look back through history, most of these influences have been present for a very long time.  The first century Christians lived in a time when similar things like these were present and they even had to deal with persecution unto death as well.  Can you imagine where American Christianity would be today if present day Christians were killed for their faith?  I dare say that the church would shrink to just a remnant.  Very few American Christians today would be willing to actually die for their faith.  Oh, I know that they might SAY they were willing to die for Jesus, but if it came right down to it, I don’t believe that many would actually do so.  Why?  Because the church today has been diluted with weak anemic Christians who are mostly apathetic regarding church because they don’t need God.  They want to be entertained for their “buck;” or even worse, they want to be entertained for free.  Any pastor that cannot meet this criteria can just be discarded because they can just move on to another church that can entertain.  Christians today are looking for a program instead of God.

I think that the root reason that people in the USA today do not need the church is because they don’t need GOD.  They see no need for God in their life.  They cannot see any benefit for them by coming to God.  If they ever get to the place where they finally do see what God can do for them, only then are they willing to approach Him.  Otherwise, they keep Him at arms distance.  I say this because time and time again, when people are in trouble; when things are not going well in their life, they suddenly need God.  Then they come to church.  Then they want the preacher to give them the magic pill that will make all of their problems go away.  If you have been a Christian for any length of time, you know what I am talking about.  Even those whom we would call “faithful saints” act the same way: They do not see any value to them by coming to, or supporting their church.  They don’t need God, so they don’t need church.  But when they need God, Oh, they are so drawn to church.  Think about it.

So, I believe that the better question to be answered is: “How do we show people the value of having God in their life?”  If people saw that it was valuable to them to have God in their life, then they would be in church, because God values church.  Today, people value other things.  It is not difficult to find something to value because the world has a never ending list of entertainment for people to value.  All of it fun and valuable.  Not many of the young culture value hard work, because they see no importance for it and have too many other distractions, each competing for a little piece of their minds.  But when they suddenly need money to live, then they see the value of hard work and sweat.  So the answer to the question should be associated with what people value and how to show the importance of it (easier said than done).

I believe the answer to this undaunting question lies in the area of relationship.  Everybody recognizes the value of a relationship in some form or another.  Once children see that they have to navigate this world on their own, the see the value of the relationship between the parents and themselves; they see how valuable it was for mom and dad to take care of everything for them.  When there is a loss of a loved one, you immediately see the value of that relationship that you once had.  So, if a person could be introduced to the value of a relationship with God (Gen. 2:18), then they would be interested in God, and therefore, church.  But relationships too, have come under attack.

In the world today, there is a big attack upon relationships.  Everybody can DIY (Do It Yourself).  More and more, people are being deceived into thinking that they don’t need anybody.  There are mom’s taking “momcations,” dads working long hours, and all of the overtime they can get, parents cut out of children’s lives and grandchildren growing up without really knowing their grandparents.  Self-serve, Self-check out, Drive thru, ATM’s, mail order, Texting, cell phones, email, Home shopping network and Social Media (i.e. facebook), all contribute to the relationship problem.  They are all attempts by the Devil to eradicate basic and necessary relationships from our life.  Today we:

  • Have, “friends” whom we have never even met face to face.  These are our cyber friends who only tell us what they want us to know about them.  We know this to be true because we only tell them the things we want them to know about ourselves.  We’re not going to paint a bad picture about ourselves.  We steer away from reality.
  • Say things that we do not mean.  People are much more bold from behind a computer or cell phone keyboard.  We punch in, and send before we really think about it.  We say things that we would not normally say to someone’s face.
  • Do things that we would not normally do.  We take photos of ourselves and only send off the good ones.  At times, there are people who send inappropriate photos of themselves (or others) when they would never have done that in person.

All of these things would not be done if we valued the relationship with that person.

The fundamental relationship that exists on earth is that of the family.  Everybody knows that the attack on the family has been going on for a long time.  It is only successful because it has been relentless.  The result is that not many young people of today see any value in their family relationships.  I believe the way we fight back on this is to: “meet fire with fire.”  Because the attack on the family is relentless, our tactic on preserving the family should be equally relentless.  We do not need to take the role of “closet dwellers” yet.  We are still free to voice our opinions.

The way that this untoward situation has “crept” up on us is because “grass roots” Christians have kept their faith in God under the rug.  When the world demeans Christianity, we too should speak up and say something.  When they promote “homosexuality”, we too should promote family.  The open forum does not belong to them.  When Christians do not speak, and act upon their faith openly, they give the platform to the enemy for the destruction of relationships, and show the younger generation the value we place on it.  They are watching and looking for something real.  If “grass roots” Christians, throughout their daily lives, do not speak up and “live” their relationship with Christ, they ultimately show that they don’t value it very much.  If all they do is speak of Christ in their house or at church or amongst other known believers, they show that they don’t need God very much.

Herein is the answer to the question.  Christians must not be ashamed of Jesus outside of the secure walls of any known Christian environment.  In other words–practice what you believe in; when you value it, others will learn how to value it as well. If you don’t need God, then the younger generation will not need God as well.  If you show a life that is walking with a need for God, then they will need God too!  ~Pastor Coale