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IS IT ARROGANCE OR RIGHTEOUSNESS WHEN PEOPLE SPEAK FORTH THE MESSAGE GOD HAS PUT UPON THEIR HEART?

A SERMON DELIVERED AT
THE FEDERATED CHURCH OF ATHENS

23 NOVEMBER 1997

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES:

2 Samuel 23:1-7
Ezekiel 3:17-21

Revelation 21:4

Is it arrogance or righteousness when people speak forth the message God has put upon their heart?

The answers we give to this question tell us a lot about our own faith.

To the faithful believers, who have experienced the presence of the Lord in their own lives, such people would be considered righteous, for they are doing what the Holy Spirit desires.

But to those who have never allowed the Holy Spirit to minister to them, such people would be considered arrogant, for they would be considered to be speaking in their own pride, as trying to sound more important than they really are.

Thus, the consideration of arrogance or righteousness is in the heart and soul of the hearer.

Or we could say, the Holy Spirit ministers to the faithful by interpreting what we hear and observe.

The last recorded words of King David appear in 2 Samuel 23:1-7.

Let's take a look at what he said, and consider for ourselves whether it is spoken with arrogance or righteousness.

1. Now these are the last words of David.
David the son of Jesse declares,
And the man who was raised on high declares,
The anointed of the God of Jacob,
And the sweet psalmist of Israel,

2. "The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me,
And His word was on my tongue.

3. "The God of Israel said,
The Rock of Israel spoke to me,

'He who rules over men righteously,
Who rules in the fear of God,

4. Is as the light of the morning when the sun rises,
A morning without clouds,
When the tender grass springs out of the earth,
Through sunshine after rain.'

Returning to our question, when David says he was raised on high and anointed by God, that he is a sweet psalmist, and that the Holy Spirit spoke to him, is he speaking the truth, in righteousness, or is he speaking in his pride, with arrogance?

Thus, the way we answer this question also tells us whether or not we will believe what the Holy Spirit told David, and in turn, what the Bible tells us.

And perhaps this same question was upon David's mind when he wrote these words, for he asks the people of his day, and us today, a question.

5. "Truly is not my house so with God?
For He has made an everlasting covenant with me,
Ordered in all things, and secured;
For all my salvation and all my desire,
Will He not indeed make it grow?

David is saying, if you don't believe my words, believe what you see in my life.

But David is also speaking of the future, and for someone to believe the future message, they have to have seen the presence of God in the person's life in the present time.

Each of us carry this awesome responsibility, just as David did.

If people don't see the presence of God in our lives, coupled with our faithfulness they won't believe what we say either.

But, if we do live the life we preach and speak about, and others don't believe us, then they take God's judgement upon themselves, for they didn't believe God's words spoken through us.

Now, there are some unrighteous people who pretend to speak for God, and such people my fool us for a short time, but if we honestly look at their lives, the truth will come forth - their lives will speak forth the untruthfulness of the spoken message.

David is telling the people to look to the line of his descendants, for they will lead to Messiah, they will lead us to God's Anointed, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

And because we know that this took place in history, we also have proof of the truthfulness of the Bible.

And David knew that many people wouldn't believe his words, so he ended with the following message.

6. "But the worthless, every one of them will be thrust away like thorns,
Because they cannot be taken in hand;

7. But the man who touches them
Must be armed with iron and the shaft of a spear,
And they will be completely burned with fire in their place. "

What David is warning us, is that we had better be careful if we associate too much with unbelieving and unrighteous people, for we may become like them, and suffer their fate.

We had best hold such people away from us, as with a spear, so that when the judgment of God falls upon them, we are not consumed with them.

We are not talking about an actual spear or sword, or any other physical weapon for that matter, we are talking about arming ourselves spiritually with the word and presence of God.

When people scoff at us, and ridicule us when we speak forth the ways of God, and the things He has put upon our heart, then we had best be careful about the rest of the things in their lives. 

That is, if we have been consistently living Godly lives that reflect the message we spoke forth.

But some of us might say, then it's best to say nothing, and do nothing in the face of evil.

And I'm afraid that most believer do just this.

In response, I would like us to consider what the Lord told Ezekiel, whom He refers to as "Son of man" (3:17-21).

17. "Son of man, I have appointed you a watchman to the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from My mouth, warn them from Me.

18. "When I say to the wicked, 'You shall surely die'; and you do not warn him or speak out to warn the wicked from his wicked way that he may live, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand.

19. "Yet if you have warned the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered yourself.

20. "Again, when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I place an obstacle before him, he shall die; since you have not warned him, he shall die in his sin, and his righteous deeds which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand.

21. "However, if you have warned the righteous man that the righteous should not sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; and you have delivered yourself."

When we come to know the Lord, when we are born again, we take upon ourselves the souls of others; for as the Holy Spirit ministers to us, He also ministers to others through us.

We are indeed our brother's keeper.

And St. Francis of Assisi even referred to the animals as animals brothers.

God put upon his heart that he was God messenger to the people, not only for their sakes, but also for those who could not speak for themselves.

Thus, we are responsible to lead and guide others in all the ways of the Lord.

As an example, if someone is doing something that we know in our heart is cruel to a human or non-human, we have a responsibility to tell that person to stop, and that what they are doing is not right.

If we do this, we have fulfilled our responsibility .

If we don't, we take upon ourselves the guilt of those we failed to guide.

And if we sincerely try, then they are responsible for their own actions before God.

If they believe us, and respond in a positive way, they too will be saved.

But if they rebel against our message, they take God's judgement upon themselves.

As another example, for the past ten years, I've stood before you, and fellowshipped with you, bringing forth the word of God, and doing my best to live my life as an example before you.

If I say, "Jesus is Lord, and God wants us to live according to His word", then most people believe me.

But if I say, "you must be born again", then I begin to hear the scoffing, for some people have discredited the term, "born again", and these scoffers believe what they see in these unfaithful people more than they believe the word of God, and the message I'm bringing forth.

When I say, "unconditional love and compassion is the key to a personal relationship with God", then most people believe me.

But if I say, "killing of any kind is wrong, for it hardens the heart", I begin to hear the scoffing.

Then if I continue, and say, "teaching our children to hunt, hardens their hearts, and begins to separate them from God", some people actually get angry, for they take pleasure in the kill, which to me, it is the proof of their own hardness of heart.

When I tossed even my target shooting guns into the furnace of the foundry as a statement of my faith and commitment to peace of all kinds, some people were stunned, and even to this day, they still ridicule me.

And because I won't even eat an animal, or any animal products, as a further commitment to a non-violent lifestyle, and a statement to the world around me, some people make me the bud of their jokes.

But, everything I have said, and tried to live is the truth.

I'm also convinced that this same message has been put upon the heart of many people, even those who don't want to believe it, and even fight against it.

God has not given us the option of believing some of his message and not believing other portions of it.

The problem with the Church today, is that most of the people want to continue to live in the hardness of their hearts while still claiming to be Christians.

And the two just don't equate; they are as different as Satan is from Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ is Lord!

Jesus Christ is to be Lord and King of our lives.

We are to follow His example, and look to the world to come; a world in which there will no longer be any pain or suffering, and where death no longer exists (Revelation 21:4).

And we are commissioned to bring the world to come to this world as a witness of the truth until the Lord returns.

And each of you needs to decide for yourself, whether my words are spoken forth in arrogance or in righteousness.

And then each of us needs to truly look at ourselves and our lifestyle and decide whether others will believe what we say.

Amen?

Amen.

Your Comments are welcome

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