Psalm 120-1-4, 7 [A Song of degrees.] In my distress I cried unto the LORD, and he heard me. (1) Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue. (2) What shall be given unto thee? or what shall be done unto thee, thou false tongue? (3) Sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals of juniper. (4) I am for peace: but when I speak, they are for war. (7)
Have you ever been in a quandary like this psalmist? Have you ever been in a situation where lies were spoken against you yet the liar refused to see the error of his ways? If so, how did you handle it? Who did you run to? Did you run to others to gather your defenses? This psalmist ran to the Lord and cried unto Him. This is the perfect place to start. God will deal with this offender – God will allow judgment to fall on this offender. God is not mocked.
The Lord is clear in His Word as to how to deal with liars – with those who seriously offend us. Matthew 18:15-18 outlines it out for us:
Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. (Mat 18:15)But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. (Mat 18:16)
And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. (Mat 18:17)
Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Mat 18:18 )
There is proper order to follow in Christ’s church. Go to the offender alone. If he doesn’t listen, take one or two with you. If he doesn’t listen, bring them before the church. If they still do not listen, they are to be regarded as a “heathen” (Matt. 18:17) or a “publican”! Verse 18 is even more interesting. Matt. 18:18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. The Lord says that the offender may have moved on from your church to another, but if he still has not repented, his actions are “bound in heaven”! Once this offender repents, it is loosed in heaven. This offender may have moved on, possibly serving in another church, but his actions are still recorded and are still bound in heaven. How can his ministries be blessed? They can’t, not until he repents and his actions are loosed in heaven. I have read these verses many times but never associated verse 18 with the previous three verses. This is serious business!
Our Pastor just preached on this yesterday morning. I think this is the first time I ever heard a message on church discipline! I’ve been saved for over 26 years! It is a needed message in today’s world. Our churches are filled with lackadaisical Christians. They come once a week and think they’ve given God their all. You also have those Christians who are whited sepulchres – they appear righteous on the outside but their insides are like dead men’s bones. One of Pastor’s comments stuck with me. He said that the Lord put these verses on church discipline there so that we would learn to fear Him. Surely, we cannot believe that we can continue in our sin and get away with it. No, no one is perfect. We all sin. However, Matt. 18:15-18 deal with those who offend another and are confronted with it.
Have you been offended by one of your brethren? Have you told them so? It could very well be that they haven’t a clue that they have sinned against you. Before you complain about it, you have clear instructions on how to deal with it in Psalm 120 and in Matt. 18:15-18. When you have gone to the Lord first and asking Him for wisdom and a heart for reconciliation, then you can follow the principles outlined in Matt. 18. With this inspired process, you chance to win a brother over. That teaches those who are spiritually immature to grow in the Lord. It teaches us to give grace to those who see their error and forgive them.
But, on the other hand, if that person is unrepentant, the Lord provides direction in how to deal with that as well. God does not leave His children in the dark. He is the God of light and truth. He provides the proper guidelines for us. I’m so thankful that we do not have to react as the world.
Early in my Christianity, I was overheard by a believer when I spoke what I then thought was one of those “little white lies”! I praise God for that believer’s boldness toward me. She pulled me aside and corrected me and showed me in the Word what I had done wrong. She was not kind but she was not rude either. I remember that to this day. I remember how convicted and embarrassed I was and the Holy Spirit used that to grow me. If I had been prideful and refused to listen, I would have hurt not only myself but those I affected with my “little white lie.” Of course, there aren’t any little white lies – they are all lies. That would be what the father of lies would have us to believe. A lie is a lie and I found that out quickly.
I praise God for pastors like mine who do not fear to preach the whole counsel of God! I can’t help but think of Ananias and Sapphira and how Peter discovered their lie and they were struck down dead because of it. Did it stop there? No. God used it in His church. And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things. (Act 5:11) As a church, we must fear the punishment that comes from sin and allow it to put fear into us of the judgment the Father would lay on us if we continue in sin. Pay day some day! The born again believer’s eternal security is secure but punishment will come even more severely if we go unrepentant. Whew! This taught me not to mess around with God.
We don’t hear messages like this very much and we truly need to. The church no longer fears – we have lost our testimony to the unsaved world – we live like them and think that we will go unpunished.
Thank You, Lord, for your Word and Your guidance through it. Help me to make the right choices according to Your Word because I fear the repercussions. I know this will keep me in the center of Your will.