Archive for the ‘Witnessing’ Category

“MURMURINGS & DISPUTINGS”

(Philippians 2:12-18)

Philippians 2:14-16 – Do all things without murmurings and disputings:That ye 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;Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.”

INTRODUCTION: The Bible tells us in verse 14 to do all things without murmurings and disputing. This means we are to do all things without a complaining and confrontational spirit. We are to do all things with a good attitude. We are to work willingly, happily and with a servants heart for our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 6:7 – With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:) When we work for someone or serve in the church, do it as if you are reporting directly to Christ himself, because in a way, you really are.

Let’s look at the definitions of these words:

Murmurings – comes from the Greek word “gong-goos-mos” which means to grudgingly grumble about something.

Disputings – comes from the Greek word “dee-al-og-is-mos” which means a doubtful discussion, consideration or debate about the purpose, reasoning or thought.

So you could say the verse this way – “Do all things without grudgingly grumbling about it and without doubtfully considering or debating the purpose or reasoning behind your instruction to do it.”

I would say it this way “Follow the leadership you are under whether that be Christ or your boss or your Pastor. Without having an attitude about what you are told or asked to do, without constantly complaining about everything and without doubting and debating the request or command.”

Have a servant’s heart like the example of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

MURMURINGS AND DISPUTINGSWe need to not have murmurings and disputing toward things we do for God and our Church or for things we do at our secular jobs. (I Corinthians 10:31Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.)

I am going to talk about 3 areas where we need to watch our attitudes or our “murmurings and disputing”.

Secular Job

  • We need to maintain a testimony where we work. Especially since we are Christians and hopefully those you work with know you are a Christian.
  • We need to maintain a good testimony of having a good attitude and not complaining about everything at work, because we represent Christ. If people we work with see a negative complaining, insubordinate attitude from us, they are not going to want anything we have. We will turn them off to Christ and that may end up sending them to a Christless eternity.

Church life

  • We need to have a good, a non complaining attitude in things we do for Christ and in our church life. Constantly complaining about things is a sin. A very discouraging sin to the leader that has to hear it all the time.
  • We need to support and enthusiastically follow the leadership of our Pastor. God put him in the leadership position in our church “for such a time as this”. God gives him the vision and we need to follow and support the vision God has given him.
  • Of course if the leadership of the church is leading in an unbiblical path we are not obligated to follow it in those circumstances nor should we. We should follow the biblical guidelines given in those circumstances as found in Matthew 18:15-17. Our ultimate allegiance should be to God and His word.

To the brethren

  • The Bible warns us over and over again about causing problems among the brethren. Of the seven things listed as what the Lord hates in Proverbs chapter 6:16-19 the last one mentioned and considered an “abomination” is that “he that soweth discord among the brethren.” (Proverbs 6:16, 19 – These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:, vs.19 – A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.)
  • Don’t be guilty of what the Lord considers an abomination!
  • How do you sow discord among the brethren? – With murmurings and disputings. With a complaining attitude. With an attitude of seeing just how much you can get away with or trying to get special treatment for yourself. With a critical spirit. With an aggressively disrespectful spirit. Complaining about others without full knowledge of situations or reasoning. By complaining about church functions instead of supporting church functions.
  • Don’t be guilty of this sin, the Lord says is an abomination. We are commanded in the Word of God to mark those which cause division among fellow Christians and to avoid them. (Romans 16:17 – Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.) – Don’t make fellow Christians have to avoid you.

WHY SHOULD WE NOT BE GUILTY OF MURMURINGS AND DISPUTINGS? HOW DOES NOT COMPLAINING BENEFIT US? (Philippians 2:15a That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke,)

4 Specific Benefits are listed in the first part of verse 15:

  • “Blameless”So we will not have any guilt, or be the one to blame because of problems within the church or in the world. Make sure you are never the source of “discord among the brethren”, but the solution to that discord.
  • harmless” Never be the one guilty of causing harm or hurt feelings to other Christians or other people in general. Strive to live a life that does not cause harm to others. The Bible tells us to cut out the murmurings, disputing and the gossiping in order to cut out the harming of others.
  • “sons of God” – We are Christians, if we are saved we are the “sons of God”. We should want to act like our Heavenly Father and live and set a good example and not act like the father of this world the devil.
  • “without rebuke” – If we don’t let ourselves murmur, dispute or gossip about things we will have no rebuke coming to us.

WHY SHOULD WE WORRY ABOUT BEING BLAMELESS, HARMLESS, SONS OF GOD AND WITHOUT REBUKE? – THAT IS ANSWERED IN THE NEXT PART OF THE VERSE – BECAUSE WE LIVE– in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;” VERSE 15B.

  • We are to be a light to the world that we live in. How can we be that light if we are complaining, gossiping, murmuring and disputing? We need to be the lights we are commanded to be. (Matthew 5:15-16 – Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.)
  • The world we live in needs our witness. Paul says we live in the “midst of a crooked and perverse nation”I think that accurately describes our nation today. So because of that, more than ever, we need to be living right as Christians and not murmuring or disputing. We need to be setting the example on how to live right not being an example of how to live wrong and sinfully.

WHAT SHOULD WE DO BECAUSE WE ARE A LIGHT IN THE WORLD? – VERSE 16a TELLS US WE SHOULD BE – “Holding forth the word of life”

What is the “word of life”? – The Gospel is called the “word of life” because it reveals to us eternal life and shows us how to have eternal life. It is called the “word of life” because it has the answers to all of life’s issues and problems. If you can’t find the answer keep looking. Sometimes the answers come as a result of the hours you spend in study and prayer in the looking for them.

  • Holding forth the word of life” – are you holding forth the Word of God? Are you doing as we all are commanded to do in Acts 1:7-8 – “And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
  • Are you “Holding forth the word of life” by obeying what the Lord commanded in Matthew 28:19-20 “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
  • Are you “Holding forth the word of life” by obeying what the Lord said in Luke 14:23 – “And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.”

IN CONCLUSION : Why should we not be murmuring, complaining and disputing? – because of the benefits God’s Word tells us we will receive in verse 15  to be “blameless, harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke”

We should not be murmuring, complaining and disputing because we live in a “crooked and perverse nation” that needs a light, a light of hope, a light of love and light of victory through the saving grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

We should not be murmuring, complaining and disputing because we are commanded to hold “forth the word of life” the gospel to the world.

We should not be murmuring, complaining and disputing so we can say as Paul did in the last part of verse 16 “that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.” So we can have joy at His appearing and know we have not lived in vain and to know that are labor has counted for Him and for eternity.

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THEY SPAKE WITH BOLDNESS

Acts 4:31 – “And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness!”

 INTRODUCTION:  Acts 3:1-8 – “Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms. And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God”. Peter and John went into the temple. Peter, by the name of Jesus, had just healed this man that had been lame from His birth. Then Peter starting preaching in the temple. We pick up this story in chapter 4 at the conclusion of Peter’s message and the reaction of the priests and the Sadducees.

We need to boldly proclaim the word of God in our community. We should not be afraid to witness for our Lord – He gave us access to “All power” we therefore have no reason to be scared about “Go Ye” (Mathew 28:18-20 – And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.)

We are going to look at several questions and we are going to get our answers out of God’s word.

WHAT DID THEY GET IN TROUBLE FOR?  (Acts 4:1-3And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.  And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide.) – THEY GOT IN TROUBLE FOR TEACHING AND PREACHING THE WORD OF GOD!

A time is coming when we may get into trouble for preaching, teaching, and living by what the Word of God says. In fact, it is already beginning to happen in this country. I read, not long ago, about a baker in Colorado and another one in Oregon. Two homosexual men in one case and two lesbian women in the other case came into the bakery wanting to order a cake to celebrate their wedding ceremony. The bakers, who believe what the Bible says about the sin of homosexuality, refused to make a cake for them. They would bake a cake for other events for them and had, but they just could not bake a cake for a homosexual wedding. They are now facing criminal and civil prosecutions and verdicts, all because they did not bake a cake, all because they acted on what they believed.

Are you willing to act on what you believe come what may?

  • Would you still be willing to preach God’s Word, teach God’s Word, be a witness of God’s Word, believe and act upon God’s word if it meant a prison sentence?
  • Acts 4:31 AND THEY SPAKE THE WORD OF GOD WITH BOLDNESS”
  • Notice in Acts 4:4 the prison bars did not stop the power of God’s word and His message. They laid hands on them, put Peter and John in prison, but that could not stop God. I love verse 4 Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.”
  • What are you willing to sacrifice for God?Your plans, your dreams, your freedom?How about your pride? Your comfort zone? Are you willing to sacrifice your Saturday to get His Word out to our community?

WHAT AUTHORITY DID THEY HAVE TO PREACH GOD’S WORD? (Acts 4:7And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this? ) – Notice the question that was asked of Peter and John.

Now notice Peter’s response, look at Acts 4:8-12 – “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

So what authority or by what power did Peter and John preach and teach and witness? – The same authority and the same power we preach and teach and witness by. By the power of God through Jesus Christ His son, enabled by the Holy Spirit himself who lives in all of us that are Christians. Go Ye into all your community preaching and teaching Jesus Christ and compelling them to come in!

Don’t hesitate to proclaim the word of God, and to be a witness for Him. We have all the authority we need. God will bless your efforts. I know I am nervous every time I knock on a door. I just trust God and pray as I am knocking on the door for Him to give me the words to say, and you know what? Sometimes I stumble over my words, but the Lord blesses our efforts. We are commanded to go. The Lord will take care of the increase. (I Corinthians 3:7 – So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.)

WHAT DID THE PRIESTS AND THE SADDUCEES SEE?Acts 4:13Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled;“ – They saw boldness. Peter and John had boldness. They boldly proclaimed the word of God.

Do you have boldness? Do you need boldness? Well just ask God for it and, if you are of a sincere heart, He will give it to you. (Mathew 7:7-8 – Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.) We get our boldness to share God’s word through Jesus Christ His Son. (Ephesians 3:11-12 – According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.)

WHERE HAD PETER AND JOHN BEEN?Notice verse 13 againNow when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.”)

  • They had been with Jesus. Have you been with Jesus today?
  • Can people around you tell you have been with Jesus?
  • Can people tell you are a Christian?
  • If we are saved, we should have testimony of our Savior. It should be obvious to those around us that we are a Christian. It should be obvious that we have “been with Jesus”.
  • Is it obvious to those around you that you are Christian and that you have a relationship with Christ? If not, you need to ask your Lord for forgiveness and work at being a better witness for Him.

WHAT WAS THE RESPONSE OF PETER AND JOHN? Acts 4:16-18 – “Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it. But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name. And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.”

  • They threatened Peter and John, and told them not to teach or preach in the name of Jesus again.
  • The day is coming, if it has not already, that you will be told to keep your faith to yourself. You will be treated rudely by someone. You will have a door slammed in your face for witnessing for your Lord. You may be cussed at or ridiculed for being a Christian, or as the case of the bakers in Colorado and Oregon, you may face prison time and enormous fines for your beliefs.
  • Acts 4:31- “And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness!”
  • Are you willing to speak the word of God with boldness come what may?

WHAT WAS PETER AND JOHNS RESPONSE? Acts 4:19 -20 – “But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”I love their response: “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” They were not going to intimidate Peter or John. Want to know why? Verse 13 tells us – because “they had been with Jesus”

  • They were saved by the blood of the Lamb of God. They had been with Jesus. They were obeying His command of “Go ye”. They had boldness from God.
  • They could not help themselves, they had to speak and teach and preach about Jesus, just like they had to breathe air to live, and they had to teach Jesus!
  • Is this the way you feel about your Lord?

WHAT WAS THE CHURCHES RESPONSE?  – Acts 4:23-29 – “And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them. And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,”

  • Peter and John gave a testimony of what had happened to their church.
  • The churches immediate reaction was to turn to God in prayer.
  • They quoted scripture in their prayer to God.
  • They praised God in their prayer.
  • The last thing they did in their prayer was to ask for something.
  • It wasn’t for some material need or possession; there was nothing selfish about their request.
  • They prayed for more boldness so they could do a better job of spreading Gods word to their community and the world.(Acts 4:29 – And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,)

CONCLUSION: What was the end result of all of this? – The end result of their boldness? The end result of their going and sharing the gospel of Christ? They were blessed twofold. (Acts 4:32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.)

  • A multitude believed.
  • How did a multitude believe? By power of God’s word and by the early church obeying Jesus command to “Go ye”
  • How did they obey that command? The Bible tells us how Paul obeyed that command in Acts 20:20 – “And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house,” – Paul went house to house.
  • Acts 5:42 – “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” – Not just in the Temple or the Church but in every house, they went house to house.
  • Unity in the Church – God blessed their church for going and witnessing to those around them with unity. “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul” – Do you want unity in your church? – Start a vigorous soul-winning and witnessing ministry.

The Lord will give us the boldness we need to share His Word with those around us. He will bless our efforts. He will bring the increase. He will bless our church with multitudes saved. He will bless our church with unity. And all we have to do is just obey His command in Mathew 28 and “Go”!

DO YOU HAVE BLOODY HANDS?

Ezekiel 3:18-21 “When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.”

We need to make sure we are sharing the truth of God’s love and forgiveness with others. It is our responsibility to share the gospel with others. It is our orders we are to follow, we are commanded to share the gospel with others. (Matthew 28:18-20 – And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.) If we do not fulfill this responsibility we will have blood on our hands from those we should have; but did not share the gospel with. Do not stand at judgment one day and watch someone be cast into hell that you had the opportunity to witness to and did not. Don’t take the chance of having blood on your hands!