by George Kirkpatrick
Vital Words to the Body of Christ
Freely We Have Received, Freely We Give
In God's wonderful Word we are given all the directions we need to get through this life. We are given directions so we may stand before the Lord, acceptable in His sight, that He may say unto us "enter in thou good and faithful servant."
As we examine the Word of life, we are enlightened in many areas as to what is acceptable to the Father and what is an abhorrence to Him. Many areas of our walk are influenced by old habits, old thoughts, old ideas as to what is right or wrong. Our attitudes, actions and speech must line up with the Word as well as our attitudes toward God, and towards our brothers and sisters in the Lord. Our speech must only reflect what we are hearing the Father say. Anything else is idle words. Jesus informed us,
"But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment." Matthew 12:36
The word idle means "useless, inactive, incapable of action"; negative words that do not produce life. These useless, inactive, negative words have an adverse effect on the speaker as well as the hearer. When James spoke of the tongue he stated,
"Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell." James 3:5-6
The tongue is set on fire of hell. The word for hell is GEENNA and refers to "the power of darkness" rather than the literal "lake of fire". James goes on to say:
"But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison." James 3:8
God is very concerned about our mouth. He has given us much direction concerning the use of the tongue, both the proper use and the misuse. Solomon wrote that death and life are in the power of the tongue, Proverbs 18:21. Also, a wholesome tongue is a tree of life, Proverbs 15:4. Our tongue is to be a tree of life that edifies and uplifts the Body of Christ. We are admonished:
"Let all things be done unto edifying." I Corinthians 14:26
Jude warned of judgment on the ungodly use of the tongue:
"To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him. These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage." Jude 15-16
Jude was speaking about the ungodly. But how many, who call themselves Christian, are guilty of the same things? Jude spoke of five areas we must guard against in our walk with God:
3 Those walking after their own lusts
4 Those who speak great swelling words
5 Those having men's persons in admiration because of advantage or profit
We are to expect these five areas in the ungodly, but these are not acceptable in the lives of the godly if we desire to be acceptable in the sight of God.
Webster says to murmur is "to utter in a low voice by the way of complaint". The Greek word for murmur is GONGUSTES and is translated "murmurers". It means "one who complains". The murmurers not only complain to all those around them, but complain about all those around them. They also complain about God and what He is trying to do in their lives.
Murmuring includes not only what is spoken, but the manner in which it is spoken. Murmuring is when we speak in a low tone as to grumble. Webster says a grumbler is "one who murmurs and complains; a discontented man". A discontented person will bring strife and contention into any situation. When murmuring enters in, so does strife and contention. Strife and contention always bring division.
Of these 5 areas mentioned in Jude, murmuring is first because it is the foundation of many disorders. Murmuring is the mother of evil speaking, backbiting, strife, contention, division, hard feelings, misunderstanding and separation. Murmuring gives satan a place, allowing him to come in like a flood. Murmuring breaks down the hedge, as Solomon wrote in the book of Ecclesiastes:
". . .Whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him." Ecclesiastes 10:8
When we break the hedge, we give place to the devil and he will inflict wounds in relationships in the home, in the church and in the work place.
Who is discontented? Discontentment can happen so easily when someone is not recognized, thanked or noticed. This can happen in the home when the husband believes he is not appreciated or the wife is not thanked for all she does around the house. Or it could be with the children when they are not heard or respected.
The same is true in the work place when someone is passed over for a promotion or raise and is not recognized for a job well-done.
Then murmuring begins and one can bring discontentment to a whole department, many times to the whole place of employment.
We cannot allow murmuring to enter into the church. The Word records that murmuring entered into the early church when it had barely begun. The Grecians murmured against the Hebrews. They thought their widows were being neglected.
"And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration." Acts 6:1
Because of murmuring, two factions were recognizable in the early church, the Greeks and the Hebrews. The church had barely gotten started when murmuring caused division. Today, there are many factions in the church. The "One Body" concept is still alien to most who sit in the church. They will only associate with those of their own denomination. Many times they will not even associate with those of like faith. But certainly they cannot be associated with those who disagree with what they believe to be truth. Murmuring, discontent and division still separate the Body. As long as there is murmuring, the Body will never come together unto the headship of Christ. Jesus spoke of the kingdom as workers in the vineyard:
"For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into His vineyard." Matthew 20:1
This householder went out in the early morning and hired labourers to work in his vineyard. These agreed to work for a penny a day which was the wages of Jesus' day. He went again the third hour and the sixth hour.
"And about the eleventh hour He went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? They say unto Him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive. So when even was come, the Lord of the vineyard saith unto His steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first." Matthew 20:6-8
When those who were hired at the eleventh hour received their wages, they received a penny as did those hired in the sixth and third hour.
"But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and Thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. But He answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with Me for a penny? Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee." Matthew 20:10-14
The vineyard is the church. God called these labourers to bring in the harvest. There has been a harvest in every generation. There have been laborers called in the third hour, the sixth hour, the ninth hour and the eleventh hour. The word hired means "to labor for reward". We are those who have been called to labor in this eleventh hour.
Those at the eleventh hour proclaimed, "No man has hired us." No one wants this ministry. It is the ministry that will bring in the final harvest and it will be rejected, maligned, spurned and will cause much murmuring among those that God is trying to separate unto Himself, who still desire to be a part of the old system. They desire the things of God, but are unwilling to "get out of the boat" to go unto Jesus, walking where no man has ever walked before, coming into that New Day when even the wind (Holy Spirit) is under His control.
Truly the world is going to proclaim, "What manner of man is this?" Few are willing to leave their idleness to become part of this eleventh hour ministry. They would rather "settle back on their lees", Zephaniah 1:12, and take their rest. The book of Proverbs states:
"How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:
So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man." Proverbs 6:9-11
Those who are asleep in their earth (flesh) will come to poverty in the Spirit. When the Householder of Matthew 20 called the laborers to give them their reward, He began at the last unto the first. Jesus proclaimed:
"So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen." Matt. 20:16
Those who have been called to the eleventh hour ministry and have given up everything for the gospel, will receive their reward first. Though their ministry is but for one hour, their ministry is in the heat of the harvest. Their reward will be received first and will be no greater than those who labored in the third and sixth hour. All will receive the same reward at the same time.
All the wages earned were a penny. Those who were called in the early morning murmured. Even though they had agreed to that wage, they complained against the Goodman of the house. They complained against God. Today, many of God's servants are complaining against their God because they are unhappy with their wage, as if God owes them something.
Jesus made it very plain as to what our attitudes should be as a servant.
"But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do." Luke 17:7-10
As God's servants, we should perform our duties with no thought of reward or thanks. Yet, many of God's servants only look to their duty to God as a way of making money and getting recognition. Jesus said that when we do as we are commanded, we are to consider ourselves unprofitable servants because we only did that which was our duty before God.
We have no right to murmur or complain. When we murmur we are giving place to satan. We are allowing him to come in, to divide, separate and destroy. James wrote:
"Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door." James 5:8-9
James states we are to be patient and stablish our hearts (minds). Stablish means "to set our minds, or strengthen our minds in the things of God" because truly the day of the Lord draweth nigh.
James informs us that, at the time of the Lord drawing nigh, we should "Grudge not one against another." The word grudge means "to murmur". We are not to murmur against one another. This list would include our brother, sister, wife, husband, son, daughter, neighbor, friend, enemy, stranger, those we work with and the government.
The phraise "Lest ye be condemned." The word condemned means "to judge against and pass sentence upon". Murmuring is a sin in the eyes of God and we will be judged for it. James proclaims:
". . .Behold, the judge standeth before the door." James 5:9
The door is open and God is hearing every word. He will judge every idle word. When we say ought against our brother or sister, we are murmuring before God and man about His creation. Paul wrote to Titus:
"A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself." Titus 3:10-11
The word used for heretic means "one who causes division by a party spirit". Paul informs Titus that, after this person or persons have been admonished for their actions twice, they are to be rejected. Rejected is the Greek word PARATEOMAI and means "to reject or to cast away or discard". The same word is used in I Timothy 4:7 when we are told to refuse (PARATEOMAI) profane and old wives fables. The same word is also used in II Timothy 2:23; to avoid (PARATEOMAI) foolish and unlearned questions. Young widows were to be refused (PARATEOMAI) because they would wax wanton against Christ; desiring to marry. I Timothy 5:11
A heretic will cause division. Paul states:
"Knowing that he that is such is subverted and sinneth being condemned of himself." Titus 3:11
The word subverted means "to turn inside out, to change completely". Heretics twist everything to make themselves look good. They run down others to make themselves look better. We are to avoid, reject and refuse them. They must be removed to protect the Body.
There are those who constantly cause division with their mouths. They continually speak against others; mostly because of their own immaturity. These cannot take care of their own problems. They begin to blame all those around them for their own shortcomings. Everyone is wrong except them; as if God used them as a measuring stick for perfection. These always know how to do everyone else's job better than they who are doing it. They always know what is wrong with everyone else and know how everyone else should be. If their suggestions are not taken, or their counsel heeded, they are hurt and murmur. These must be dealt with for the Body's sake.
Titus states we are to admonish the heretic twice, then reject them. Paul says these heretics are condemned of themselves. How can these judge themselves and pronounce their own sentence? Because God has already judged murmuring and has pronounced judgment upon it.
God's judgment has not changed. His Word is clear on how to handle those who cause division. When the Children of Israel were in the wilderness, God had to deal many times with murmurers.
"And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman." Numbers 12:1
Miriam and Aaron spoke evil against Moses because he had married a black woman. Ethiopians are black. On the surface, this would seem to be the problem. As we read on, we discover the black woman was only used to cover up the real problem.
"And they said, Hath the Lord indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us? And the Lord heard it." Numbers 12:2
Miriam and Aaron proclaimed, "Has God spoken by Moses only? God speaks to us, also." The real problem was jealousy, and they murmured and complained. Their intention was to cause division and to draw attention to themselves.
When Moses recorded this incident, he recorded Miriam's name first. It would appear that Miriam was the instigator of this situation, and that Aaron was led astray by his sister, against Moses.
Moses was the one God had chosen to lead Israel out of their bondage in Egypt to their promise land. Much of the murmuring in the church today is against God's chosen leaders. Miriam and Aaron were also Moses' brother and sister. Many times, it is our brothers and sisters who start the murmuring and complaining, causing strife, contention and division in our midst.
God heard this murmuring against Moses. We need to realize that this murmuring was not against Moses only, but against God. In essence, Miriam and Aaron were saying, "God you made a mistake.
You should have chosen us as the leaders. We would have done a better job than Moses:
"(Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)" Nu. 12:3
Moses was the meekest man on the face of the whole earth. Did God choose Moses because of his macho leadership ability, because of his expertise in financial management, or because of his knowledge of current events? NO! He chose Moses because he was meek and would listen to the voice of God. Today, God is looking for a people who will hear His voice, and be obedient to His voice; not those who try to operate His kingdom work by fleshly means, recognition or financial gain. [See "The Father's Will" by George Kirkpatrick]
God called Moses, Aaron and Miriam into the tabernacle of the congregation. He came down in the pillar of the cloud and separated Aaron and Miriam. God spoke:
"Hear now My Words: If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make Myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream." Numbers 12:6
God made it perfectly clear that Moses was His chosen leader, and that He had not made a mistake in His selection. God said He would speak to His prophets in visions and dreams. Most would be satisfied with God speaking to them in visions and dreams, but Moses was in a higher realm than that of a prophet. God said:
"My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all Mine house. With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the Lord shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against My servant Moses?" Numbers 12:7-8
God proclaimed that He spoke to Moses mouth to mouth, and not in dark speeches. He spoke to him in plain talk, stating that Moses would behold the presence of the Lord.
God asked Aaron and Miriam why they were not afraid to speak against His chosen leader, HIS SERVANT. God's leaders are His servants. They are not the people's servants; although they serve the people. Leaders serve the people for the Master. Leaders must have a servant's heart if they are to be profitable to the Master.
The anger of the Lord was kindled against Aaron and Miriam. When the Lord departed, Miriam was found to be with leprosy, Numbers 12:9-10. Immediately Aaron repented.
"And Aaron said unto Moses, Alas, my lord, I beseech thee, lay not the sin upon us, wherein we have done foolishly, and wherein we have sinned." Numbers 12:11
Aaron had a repentant heart. Miriam was judged for an unrepentant heart and was judged because she had instigated division in the house of Israel. Leprosy is a sign of sin and death. This is the end result of murmuring.
Aaron also pleaded with Moses for Miriam's healing, that she might be restored. When we come face to face with murmuring, we should repent and encourage those who are murmuring to repent and pray that they be restored.
"Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted." Galatians 6:1
When a brother or sister fall into error, we are to restore that brother or sister in the spirit of meekness; not in a haughty, know-it-all, holier-than-thou attitude.
Moses was the meekest man in all the earth. Jesus spoke of Himself when He proclaimed:
"Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart." Matthew 11:29
Jesus was meek and lowly of heart, and He was humble in all His ways. If we will not humble ourselves before God, He has a way of humbling us before Him and the whole congregation.
Miriam was set outside the camp for seven days. Israel was in the time of journeying, but all Israel had to wait until Miriam became clean. This was not a pre-ordained stop for Israel. Their campsite probably was not conducive for a long stay. But they could not move until Miriam was restored.
This was God's way of humbling Miriam before the whole camp. When Miriam returned, every eye was upon her. They were aware of her rebellion, and how God had bountifully dealt with her sin. God is in the humbling business, and if we continue to murmur, God will humble us before the whole camp.
We must break the bad habit of murmuring. Many times we can help others break their bad habits by simply saying, "Do you know you are murmuring? Do you know what God thinks of murmuring?" The Bible says, "Let all things be done unto edifying," I Corinthians 14:26. If it does not edify, we should not say it, think it or do it.
Many times in the Word, reference is made to our mouth and the words we speak. In Paul's letter to the Romans, he spoke of those who would not retain God in their knowledge (discernment and recognition). Because of this, God turned them over to a reprobate mind, Romans 1:28. The word reprobate means "rejected". When man does not retain God in his knowledge, God rejects that mind. He no longer convicts that mind of sin.
"Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers. Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them." Romans 1:29-32
Backbiters are part of this list which God has turned over to a reprobate mind. Many would say, "I would never be a backbiter." But when we speak evil, murmur or complain about a brother or sister, we are backbiting. There are those who would say God is speaking of the ungodly in this text, but the ungodly do not know the judgment of God. This is directed to the believers who have a knowledge of the Word.
Paul writes that those who do such things are worthy of death; not only those who do them, but also those who have pleasure in those that do them. Many love to hear slanderous things spoken of a church, a minister or another brother or sister. If we have pleasure in these things, we are just as guilty before God as those who are doing them. These things are rejected of God. Peter writes:
"Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings." I Peter 2:1
Peter admonishes us to lay aside, or quit carrying these things around or pulling them along behind us. There were five areas Peter said we are to lay aside:
1 Malice, KAKIA, is a defect of character. It is not an uplifting quality, but rather constantly finding fault.
2 All guile, DOLOS, is deceitfulness. Deceitfulness is the lowest form of lying.
Jesus noted that there was no guile found in the mouth of Nathanael, John 1:47. This same qualification was found in the 144,000 on Mount Zion standing before the throne of God, Revelation 14:5. We are told to have no deceit in our mouths. We should only speak the pure truth, and we should not, in any way, deceive by our words.
3 No hypocrisies, HUPOKRISIS; play acting.
God is looking for those with a pure heart, not verbal Christians who act one way around those in the church and another way around those in the world. Paul and Peter almost came to blows because of Peter's action in this area:
"But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation." Galatians 2:11-13
Peter communed with the Gentiles but when the Jews came around, he separated himself from the Gentiles and had fellowship with the Jews, shunning the Gentiles. This is hypocrisy.
God had Paul record this to reveal unto us the dangers of hypocrisy. Peter and Paul, the two main leaders in the early church, had come to a serious problem of disagreement. Many times today, when leaders have a situation arise where disagreement develops, it is hidden, suppressed and glossed over. But God wants us to understand the seriousness of hypocrisy and how it effects others. Because Peter was a well-respected leader, others looked up to him and followed his example. When Peter separated from the Gentile converts because he feared he would lose the goodwill of the Jews, other Jews did the same. Even Barnabas was affected by these actions.
The word dissimulation is HUPOKISIS. This is the same word as hypocrite. Play actors will try to draw others to follow their actions. God always judges the hypocrite.
4 Envious, PHTHONOS, a feeling produced in ourselves when we hear the prosperity of others.
Envy becomes a problem in many when they witness a brother or sister who obtains wealth or position in the church or work place. Many are envious of another's position in the Lord, their Spiritual awareness or their ability in God. Those who are guilty of these actions are rejected by God. When envy enters in, so does murmuring, complaining, strife and division. They are always guilty of the fifth category, evil speaking.
5 Evil Speaking, KATALALIA, is the same word as backbiters.
Evil speaking, backbiting, murmuring, complaining, grumbling are all soulish problems and they stem from a discontented relationship with the Father. All these are only a manifestation of a poor Spiritual walk with God.
Murmuring is nothing new. Moses had to put up with it in the wilderness and Jesus suffered from it constantly. The Jews murmured, the Pharisees murmured and even His own disciples murmured when He proclaimed He was the bread from heaven.
"The Jews then murmured at Him, because He said, I am the bread which came down from heaven." John 6:41
When the Pharisees heard that the people believed on Jesus, they murmured:
"The Pharisees heard that the people murmured such things concerning Him; and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take Him." John 7:32
Jesus' disciples murmured when He proclaimed things they did not understand.
"When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples murmured at it, He said unto them, Doth this offend you?" John 6:61
God is returning for a church without spot or wrinkle; a separated people, who have allowed the sword of the Spirit to separate the soul and the Spirit. The Sword of the Spirit has become the discerner of the thoughts and intents of their hearts. Peter, who was given the keys to the kingdom, stated:
"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear." I Peter 3:15
The word sanctify means "to set aside in a special place in the Spiritual realm". We need to sanctify the Lord in our hearts and be ready to give an answer. We are to answer in meekness and fear.
We are not to murmur, complain and cause strife. The writer of Hebrews admonishes us:
"Make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen." Hebrews 13:21
Vital Words to the Body of Christ
Freely We Have Received, Freely We Give