Without Words


When I was a college student in Atlanta, Georgia many years ago, I would often go to the same laundry to wash clothes.  I always tried to have some gospel tracts in my pocket to hand out as God gave opportunity.

On one particular laundry day I sat down beside a man, who appeared to be Asian, and tried to start a conversation.  It soon became apparent that he did not speak English, so I took a tract that had a cross on the front and I pointed at the cross.  I then pointed to heaven and finally I pointed to my heart.

The gentleman stood up, motioned for me to follow him, and he led me outside to his car.  I was a bit apprehensive, not knowing what to expect, but I followed him outside nonetheless.  

He opened the passenger door, and as he sat down on the passenger seat he opened the glove compartment and pulled out a Bible written in his own language.

There was laughter and a warm hand shake.  There was an understanding much deeper than the simple exchange of words. There was the joy of finding an unknown family member.  There was fellowship without speaking a word that the other could understand. There was a bond of Christian love.

It was a conversation that I shall never forget!  It is a conversation that we shall one day continue in heaven.  It was a conversation without words.

It was a conversation made possible by the grace of God through our Saviour, Jesus Christ.  To the believing stranger, foreigner, or fellow citizen, Jesus Christ is always the same.

God Said It, Not Me

Where do we get our information regarding Christianity, it’s doctrine, and it’s practice?  It would be pretty safe to say, from the Bible, of course.  According to the Bible, is sex outside of marriage a sin?  Need we ask?  The Bible is very clear about sexual sin.  The Scriptures declare that fornicators and adulterers God will judge.

In dealing with the woman taken in adultery, Jesus is often quoted for His statement; He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her (John 8:7).  He is rarely quoted on the last thing He said to her; ….go, and sin no more (John 8:11).  

Sexual sin is associated with the former way of life experienced prior to becoming a new creature in Christ; ….and such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus……. (I Corinthians 6:9-11).

Did Jesus associate with fornicators and adulterers?  The Pharisees criticized Him for eating with publicans and sinners, so we would assume that there was a fornicator or an adulterer or two among the sinners at the table.  As believers we should reach out to all unbelievers, regardless of their sin, because except for the grace of God, there go you and I.

What does the Bible say, however, when those who profess to be Christian live in or practice disobedience to the direct commands of Scripture?  Paul writing in I Corinthians 5:9-11 says; I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world,…………; for then must ye needs go out of the world.  But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, …; with such an one no not to eat. 

The exhortation, not to eat with such an one, likely refers to their participation in the Lord’s Supper (see vs 7&8).  “Christian” fornicators are to be excluded from Christian recognition and Christian fellowship.  Verse 13b wraps up Paul’s instruction with this command; Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

Jesus stated in John 14:24a; He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings.  The apostle John, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, continues this instruction in I John 2:4; He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

God said it, not me.

  •  The word “fornication” is a general term which covers all sexual sin.  The immediate biblical context may determine if a specific sexual sin is being addressed.
  • A distinction should be made between sinning by slipping up versus an unrepentant way of life.  Slipping up or backsliding is a temporary condition accompanied with and/or followed by guilt, conviction of sin, and repentance.  
  • The apostle John wrote that a Christian does not commit sin.  Commit is a present tense, continuous action word, better translated “practice”.   A Christian does not practice sin as a way of life.  The indwelling Holy Spirit will not let him.
  • A true son living in sin will be chastened by the Father.  If you are without chastisement, then you are not a true son.  

When the Leaves Fall

I started out life on a farm just east of a small rural village in northwest Iowa.  There’s nothing left there now but a lot of memories.  

I lived there until I was only six or seven, but I have as many memories of that short period of time as I have of anywhere else I’ve lived.  Most of those memories are good memories.  I think that’s why I love the farm so much, because of those early childhood days spent on the farm.  

Some of those early memories had to do with learning responsibility.  As a young boy those first responsibilities were pretty simple, but they were stepping stones to bigger things, and often times a spiritual lesson all rolled into one.

Gathering eggs was a menial task, but to me it was always an exciting challenge as well as a treasure hunt.   It was a challenge to get an egg out from under a grouchy old hen without getting pecked, and a treasure hunt to find the eggs, wherever they had been deposited.

At milking time I would walk out to the pasture to bring the cows in. As small as I was, those cows looked to be about ten feet tall.  They would pause from their grazing to stare at me a moment, and then without fail they would head for the barn at a speed that even my short legs could easily keep up.

Opening and closing the hog house door, as the rest of the family carried squealing pigs to another area for weaning, was easily the scariest job.  It was hard to stay at my post with those excited sows in their stalls carrying on so.  Fortunately that job came only a couple of times a year.

The most boring responsibility was taking out the garbage, but it proved to be the most valuable in teaching a spiritual lesson.  We burned what we could of the garbage.  What was left over was to be placed in an old hog feeder down by the barn.  It was my job to see that the non-burnables made it to the old hog feeder.

On the way to the “dumpster” there was a good sized bush growing on the hill just above the driveway.  On days when I had more important things to do, I would just deposit the non-burnables in the middle of that bush.  This worked out just fine for me as the bush had lots of leaves for cover, so no one was the wiser.

There came a day however, that I happened by that bush after the leaves had fallen off.  I was shocked.  There was the result of my disobedience, open and exposed to whoever happened by.  I don’t remember if mom or dad ever saw it, I just remember the shock and the guilt I felt to see it uncovered and no longer hidden.

Covering sin never works.  If the leaves don’t fall, God will reveal it sooner or later.  He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy (Proverbs 28:13).

Did You Know? #4

Religious hypocrisy is outward conformation without inward transformation.

If there is no inward transformation, there is no power to overcome sin and no power to obey God’s Word.

Do You Know Where You Are Going?

  • These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.  I John 5:13  
  • Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you, I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself: that where I am, there ye may be also.  And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.  Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.  John 14:1-6
  • Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not; the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.  But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:  And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.  My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.  John 10:25-29