Lord Plant My Feet on Higher Ground – 6/28/15

I have been on Facebook for about one year.  Initially I sought fellowship with other believers and I remain delighted when that occurs.  However, I have some concerns because I often review posts by Christians and read responses from other Christians which are blatantly argumentative or reveal a contentious spirit. Now I am aware of 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”  But beloved, this is not what I hope to address in these brief remarks.  Instead, I am referring to responses which are contentious, overtly rude, crass, vulgar and even hostile.  Some responses are even filled with obscenities and mock individuals on a personal level.

I have also noticed that if a person simply shares a Scripture verse most Christians have no problem. However if this Scripture verse is illustrated, reinforced in song or given an interpretation, a flurry of criticism and accusations can follow. Many so-called believers are even so bold as to pronounce unspeakable things such as “you are going to hell, …this is the spirit of antichrist, (or one of my favorites), you are a false prophet.” Beloved, I’m quite sure that it’s not necessary for me to warn you about others on Facebook who claim to be Christians but simply do not believe that they are saved by grace through faith. Many even know the Scriptures very well but their goal is to undermine your trust in Christ alone and substitute your Savior for their cause. Typically they advocate your involvement in a program of good works or strict adherence to the Torah.

First, indulge me with some secular advice. I know this saying I’m about to share is not in the Bible “but if the shoe fits…” I think I first heard it from my parents when I was a child. I gather they found this sage wisdom necessary because I had seven brothers and sisters and arguments often erupted. Basically they would say (or yell) something like this: “If you don’t have something good to say about someone, then don’t say anything.” Infractions of this kind of “golden rule” were met with punishments that were typically swift and harsh.

But a reliance on worldly wisdom is really not necessary for the Christian. Indeed, Scripture is replete with instruction and admonishments regarding our conversations with each other, and for that matter, our conversations with those in the world. For example, the book of James speaks openly about the power of the tongue and the devastation that can be created from arguments and contention. And because there seems to be so many self-appointed apostles on Facebook who feel the need to bring contention and arguments, I am led to share just a few scriptures that have helped me bridle my tongue.

Regarding Christians who are not part of my group or denomination: Mark 9:39-41 – But Jesus said…For he who is not against us is for us. For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because of your name as followers of Christ, truly I say to you, he will not lose his reward. John 10:16 – I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.

Regarding Christians who believe they are divinely appointed to judge or correct other Christians: Matthew 7:1-3 – Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

Regarding Christians who base judgments solely on their interpretation of Scripture: John 16:12-14 – I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you.… II Corinthians 3:6 – Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

Regarding Christians who make prophetic claims are not supported by Scripture or who speak as hypocrites: Luke 12:55-56 – And when you see a south wind blowing, you say, It will be a hot day, and it turns out that way. You hypocrites! You know how to analyze the appearance of the earth and the sky, but why do you not analyze this present time? II Timothy 2:15 – Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that need if not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Regarding Christians who like to argue or have a contentious spirit: Proverbs 26:20-21 – For lack of wood the fire goes out; and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases. As charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife. Philippians 2:14 – Do all things without murmurings and disputings: that you may be blameless and harmless the sons of God, without rebuke in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world. Titus 3:1-2 – Be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for any honest work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy to all.

Regarding Christians who do not recognize their need for other believers: Ist Corinthians 12: 20-22 – But now there are many members, but one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of you; or again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary.

Regarding the impact and consequences of criticizing other believers: Matthew 25:40 – And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Rom 2:6-8 – Those who are patient in well-doing will receive eternal life, …but for those who are contentious… tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that doeth evil.

Beloved, as the body of Christ our reputation should not be “a group of fanatics who are overly critical and judgmental of everyone including themselves.” We are called to HIGHER GROUND. We are called to love one another. Any time two people get together there is a potential for disagreement and differing opinions. But the Word declares we are one body. He brought all of us out of the pit. Stand tall on the higher ground, the rock of our salvation. That ROCK, that HIGHER GROUND is JESUS.

Lord Jesus I pray that you would bind us together with cords that cannot be broken. I affirm your prayer that we be one in You in the same manner that You and the Father are one. Forgive us where there has been criticism and words of unkindness. Pour out a new and fresh anointing on your people that empowers us to demonstrate your love both in word and in deed. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us. We receive your healing to our sin-sick souls even now. I commit this to You in the mighty name of Jesus of Nazareth whose I am and whom I serve.

Be blessed in Jesus name,
Pastor Jerry Turk