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Scripture Memory: God’s Help.
Romans 8:31 
"What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?"

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O Worship the LORD in the Beauty of Holiness

9 September 2012
8 am Worship Service:

Rev Quek Keng Khwang (Jonathan: A Friend Who Sticks Closer than a Brother, 1 Sam 18:1-4)
1045am Worship Service:
Rev Colin Wong (Jonathan: A Friend Who Sticks Closer than a Brother, 1 Sam 18:1-4)
6:00 pm Evening Service:
Rev Peter Tan (The Compassion of Christ, Jn 8:1-11)

16 September 2012
9.30 am Combined Ordination Service:

Rev Edward Paauwe (Timothy: Paul’s Proven Son in the Faith, Phi 2:19-23)
6:00 pm Evening Service:
Dn Lee Hock Chin (That Children May Know, Ps 78)

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GOSSIP AND SLANDER

It has for the longest time been suggested that women gossip and men do not. I have recently heard that men are actually worse than women when it comes to slander! By now, you may be asking which is true? The truth is that it does not matter who gossips or slanders the most. What really matters is whether "I am guilty of this sin"?

The Sin of Gossip and Slander

Gossip is a public sin. This means we are so open about gossiping that it has come to be regarded as acceptable behaviour. If one were to include the pleasure gossip gives to the hearer as well, this sin tends to be readily ignored by the people who should be putting a stop to it. Some of us enjoy it so much that we may have even given good-sounding reasons to indulge in it.

For example, it is so easy for us to complain about someone just because he/she seems to have done something wrong. In such complaints, we behave as if we were right there when it happened and we knew exactly what was in their hearts when they did it. We would then start to make comments and draw conclusions about that person. The more we talk about that person, the happier we become. We finally walk away thinking we have done something good for God by exposing the sin of such a person. We may also secretly cherish the thought that we are not like that person.

God said in Proverbs 18:2, "A fool hath no delight in understanding, But that his heart may discover itself (i.e. he is only interested in his own opinion)." Those who gossip exhibit this character. They do not seek to hear others out but will talk behind their backs. What interests them is their interpretation of the events as they saw it. Some may even have the boldness to claim that was exactly what happened as if the truth does not matter.

Such talebearers also behave like Hollywood screen writers. They will make the event appear juicier through adding to or subtracting from what they heard or saw. To these people, God says in Proverbs 18:8, "The words of a talebearer are as wounds, And they go down into the innermost parts of the belly". The tales they bear are so "sweet" to the ears that we take them all in, not pausing for a moment to realize that we have just wounded someone. We just want to relish the good feeling that we know something bad about another person. What we fail to realize is that besides hurting another person, we have also limited our ability to look such a person in the eye to have a meaningful relationship.

The sin of gossip and slander comes from the heart of a person who only cares about himself or herself and not how much their words will hurt or destroy another person. They tend to be very careless in their speech and will make it their business to be talking about others. They are what God calls busybodies in 2 Thessalonians 3:11.

In the modern world context, we need to know that gossip is not limited to words. It also includes any action that will transmit information about another person such as photos, videos, comments on social media etc.

The Effects of Gossip and Slander

Proverbs 18:21 says, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue…" We are reminded that the words from our mouth can give life and can also kill a person. When we watch what we say, always mindful of doing good to the other person, we become a blessing to them, for we will say and do things that will encourage and build them up. When confronted with unpleasant stories, we will wisely refuse to comment and show great concern by asking how we can help. To those who "pass on this story", we will ask how they has been praying for the one they are sharing about and whether they have spoken to that person. Such counterchecking are acts of love towards the victim and the sinner.

At the same time, careless words and gossip can kill because there is usually no way that a person who is being gossipped about can defend himself. He is up against an unknown crowd and would not know where to start. This will add tremendous stress to the victim. If we add to this the fact that what is said cannot be taken back, the damage is usually uncontainable. Such acts will hurt the individual, the fellowship, his family and the church.

By the way, gossip is not limited to saying things about people that are not true. It is about indiscreet passing forward of information about another person. You may remember the newspaper report of a university student in the US who posted a video he recorded of his roommate’s sinful bedroom behavior. That act caused the victim such shame and distress that he committed suicide. The Bible is never wrong. Here is a vivid example of it coming true thousands of years after it was written. The tongue, which in this example is careless forwarding of information, can really kill a person. Gossip will only put a person to shame. Our motive in handling information must be to restore another. May I suggest that this is especially so when that someone is a non-believer. Pray for wisdom to turn such information into a witnessing opportunity.

The Cause of Gossip and Slander

There was an ancient story about the apostle John which I read in Alexander Strauch’s book entitled, "If you bite and devour one another". "It is commonly agreed that John the Apostle lived to an old age. Jerome, a 4thcentury biblical scholar records that when John was not able to preach any more, he still said, "Little children, love one another". Wondering why he always said the same thing, one of his disciples asked, "Teacher, why do you always say this?" To this question, the aged apostle replied, "Because it is the Lord’s commandment, and if it alone is done, it is enough".

This remains true today because in 1 John 4:7-8, John said "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love". It is this lack of Christian love for one another that causes the sin of gossip and slander. The Christians of today will do well to honour God by discovering what it means to love one another. There is no better way to distinguish ourselves from the world than for them to see the love of Christ exhibited in our homes, in our place of work, in our fellowship, NBC, Sunday School and the many ministries of the church.

In this verse, we also see that this lack of love may stem from not knowing the love of God. If we live a life of habitual gossiping, we need to ask if we know the love of God. We will not be gossiping about others if we love them with the love of God. If you do not know this God of love, may I encourage you to look at the life of Jesus and discover who He is and what He has done. May this knowledge of Jesus Christ open your heart to see His love for you. It is our prayer that after discovering Jesus Christ you will respond with the question, "What must I do to be saved?"

The Cure for Gossip and Slander

We will stop gossiping about another person when we understand and apply 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 - "For the love of Christ constraineth us; ….that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again". Christians know that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. It is this love of God that has transformed us from selfish gossipers to caring Christians. This love will enable us to obey God and help us to put others first by being mindful of their welfare. We will learn to trust and not be suspicious about people. Hence, ALL children of God can stop gossiping about others and start to care.

Proverbs 4:23 also encourages us to "Keep (guard) thy heart with all diligence; For out of it are the issues of life". Let us guard our hearts and watch how we treat others. We now have the power not to sin, but we are also like the Apostle Paul who said, "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do." (Romans 7:18-19) Let us learn to really listen to ourselves and make it a point to stop ourselves from gossiping and not grieve the Holy Spirit. Let us make it a habit to let the Holy Spirit control us in our thoughts and actions. This is our duty to God and His way of sanctifying us.

The last recommendation to cure us from gossiping is to love others as Christ loved us. For when there is love according to God’s way, we will be patient and kind, not rude. We will be neither easily irritable nor resentful. We will not rejoice at wrong doings but rejoice in the truth. We will bear all things, believe all things and endure all things for the sake of the other person. We will do all these for the sake of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for our sins (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). When we love one another in this manner we will not gossip nor slander one other.

By the grace of God, we will obey Him.

Practical Steps to Stamp out Gossip in Our Midst

1. Do not entertain or indulge in the act of talking about others. 2 Thessalonians 3:11

2. It is not what you do not like that should cause you to feel offended by a person. It must be whether that person has sinned against God. Ephesians 4:17

3. If there is something to be said about a person and you think it is your business to do so, go to that person privately and tell him so that you can pray with him. Matthew 18:15.

4. If you are unwilling to tell him yourself, do not make the mistake of asking another person to speak on your behalf. If God has given you the burden and made you an eyewitness to the event, it is your responsibility to see it through. Proverbs 25:9.

5. Check your motives and if you doubt that they are honourable, do not confront that brother. Romans 14:23.

6. Go to that person in meekness and gentleness and make sure that you do not fall into the same sin. Galatians 6:1.

7. Finally, be prepared to see this thing all the way to end, which is the restoration of a brother, even if it means bringing the charge before the Board of Elders. Matthew 18:15-20. – Dn Joel Seah

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Creation Ministries International (CMI) Seminar

Dinosaurs and the Bible

Most folk, particularly children (yes even Christian kids) believe that dinosaurs lived millions of years ago. This often leads them to refuting the Bible’s account of the history of the Earth and the book of Genesis. But, did you know that dinosaurs are mentioned in the Bible?

Dr Carl Wieland will be ministering at 3.00 pm on

Saturday, 22 September 2012.

(CMI is a Christ-centred, non-denominational ministry dedicated to upholding the authority of the Bible from the very first verse. More details about CMI are available at www.creation.com)

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1) Combined Ordination Service, next Lord’s Day, 9.30am: Mr Mark Chen Chih-Chuan will be presented for ordination as a Minister of the Gospel by the ordaining council. Please uphold him in prayer. (There will be no Sunday School, Children’s Ministry and Filipina Service.)

2) "Faith’s Checkbook": Daily Devotional by C H Spurgeon, Vol 4 (Oct to Dec 2012). Now available at the front counter. The same devotions are available online at http://www.lifebpc.com/devotions.

Vision & Mission

 

To build a united church family that is committed to making disciples through Salvation, Sanctification and Service, to the glory of God.

Verse for the Week

December 3 & 10 - Holy Living

Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 2 Peter 3:11