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July 1, 2013

In the last newsletter we discussed humility prayer and confession as prerequisites for revival. Let’s continue by considering sins that hinder the working of the blessed Holy Spirit of God in our life. Remember, If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me (Psalms 66:18). A destructive sin called “gossip” deafens the ears of Almighty God as one prays to Him.


The Tongue


Nothing in the history of mankind has wrought more havoc and sorrow than the uncontrolled tongue of human beings. A wise proverb states, “He that thinketh by the inch and speaketh by the yard should be kicked by the foot.” Again, “Loose tongues get their owners into tight places.”


God says in James 3:6, 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. Verses 9, 10: Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.


A slanderous, vile, malicious tongue is indicative of one of two conditions:


(1) The slandered maybe a hell-bound sinner. If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain (James 1:26). A wagging tongue is usually a symbol of an empty heart. God said so.


The Lord, speaking about those who are filled with all unrighteousness in Romans 1:28-32, mentions fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity, whispering, backbitings, and other abominable practices. Now notice carefully that maliciousness (character assassination), envy (jealousy which produces gossip), debate (leading to boisterous argumentation), malignity, whispering (gossip in quiet, hushed tones), and backbitings are all partakers of the same judgment that shall be pronounced upon fornicators (sex-hungry maniacs) and murderers. Look at verse 32: Who knowing the Judgment of God, that they which commit such things are. worthy of death.


In Galatians 5:19-21, the Holy Spirit lists seventeen abominations, and uncleanness (a dirty, smut-filled mouth), hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, heresies, and envyings-all having to do with the REASON FOR or the RESULT OF a poison-filled, uncontrollable tongue-are under the anathema or condemnation of God. The devil’s reward, at the end of the trail, for gossipers is stated in verse 21: They which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.


God hates these sins. How easy it is for self-righteous church members to condemn the sins of the flesh practiced by some, and overlook the wickedness of their own lives as they lacerate, mutilate, and cut to shreds other members of the human race with their razor-sharp tongues. However, Proverbs 6:16-18 states, These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, an heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.


Friend, what about the deadly tongue you possess? Will your tongue, described in the Bible as a fire, lead you into the fires of eternal doom? Fall on your face, confess your sin, get washed in Christ’s blood and be saved for eternity.


(2) Second, a loose-tongued person may be saved, but carnal. Each hearer must determine his own spiritual condition before God. Both situations are taught in God’s Holy Word, and a true messenger must present both viewpoints, and then allow the individual, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, to determine his own personal state before God.


The Corinthian church was filled with fighting, carping Christians. Paul, in writing to this carnal assembly, says, I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? (1Corinthians 3:1-3).


Fighting, bickering, and sowing discord among brethren is not a sign of spiritually, but of extreme carnality. Many who claim to be dominated by the Holy Spirit are constantly running off at the mouth. You are professing a lie if this is the case. It is easy to call the working of the Holy Spirit a second work of grace, an infilling, a baptism, and loudly proclaim an experience with the third member of the Trinity through signs and wonders. The real evidence, however, is in a love-filled heart and Spirit-controlled tongue. You don’t believe it? Hear God in James 3:2: If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man. Again, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance (Galatians 5:22,23).


I was asked, “Do you believe in the infilling of the Holy Spirit?” Amen. “Have you had the evidence?” Which one-there are at least nine in 1 Corinthians 12-14, and a host of others found throughout the New Testament.


They replied, “Tongues.”


I answered, “I am seeking to control the one I have.” That’s right; the fruit of the Spirit is love, peace, long-suffering, gentleness. These have to do with getting along with others and loving them when they treat you like dirt. You don’t retaliate by spreading venom about them with the tongue. That is not the mark of a Spirit-filled human being.


You argue that the gifts and the fruit are two different things? Quit quibbling; they go hand-in-hand. That is what God is trying to say in 1 Corinthians 13. Charity, which is love, is the evidence of the blessed Holy Spirit’s presence in one’s life. One can talk about his experiences and visions until doomsday, but if the fruit of the Spirit-LOVE-is absent, all the speaking in tongues is but projected from the diaphragm. Don’t get angry now, because that will prove my point that LOVE-the true evidence-is missing in your experience.


Listen to the Spirit of God as He writes, through Paul, 1 Corinthians 13:1: Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. (More simply: Though I speak with angelic tongues and fight with everyone, I am just a lot of noise). The real evidence is found in verses 4-7:


Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not [is not jealous]; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up [saying “I have the gift and you don’t; I am spiritual and you apparently aren’t”], doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things [yes, endures all things and will not try to get back with the tongue).


Is this your experience? If so, you have the evidence of the Spirit. Languages, signs, and wonders can be faked; but the above-mentioned love can only be produced by the Holy Spirit.


Some of you have roast preacher every week. You talk against every spiritual leader of the Church. One day your children will curse God and turn their back on religion, and your uncontrollable tongue will have been the cause. God hates gossip. The Word proves it:


Lying lips are abomination to the Lord (Proverbs 12:22).


A true witness delivereth souls; but a deceitful witness speaketh lies (Proverbs 14:25).


Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones (Proverbs 16:24).


A wicked doer giveth heed to false lips; and a liar giveth ear to a naughty tongue (Proverbs 17:4).


A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall perish (Proverbs 19:9).


Speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).


Let your speech be always with grace (Colossians 4:6).


An Unforgiving Spirit


Some of you reading this newsletter have been hurt by another’s vicious remarks. Because of it, you have harbored ill will toward that person. This is human, I know, but it is not divine. We who are filled with the Spirit can live on a higher plane. “To err is human; to forgive divine.” If animosity, envy, ill-will, and jealousy continue, this internal bitterness will destroy one’s communion with his Lord.


In Ephesians 4:30 we find: And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. It is evident that when the Spirit of God, living within a believer, is grieved, the believer feels the mood of the grief-stricken Spirit and shares in the misery. Because of it, fellowship with God is broken.


What causes the Spirit to be grieved? Verses 31,32: Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And [get it, please] be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.


The same truth is taught in Colossians 3:13: Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any; even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.


Since we are to forgive others as Christ did, what did He do differently? In Luke 23, we see the Saviour hanging on the cross. Thorns stick into the flesh surrounding the skull. Spikes fasten Him to the tree. One sees a mutilated, mangled form suspended between heaven and earth.


Is Christ bitter? NO! He looks at His torturers and cries, Father forgive them; for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34). Had they crucified Him daily for the last 1,900 years, He would still pray for their forgiveness. I know that from Matthew 18:21-35. Peter says to Christ, How oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? til seven times [49 times]? Jesus said, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven [490 times]. Oh, what love and what grace. If God expects us to forgive 490 times, then He too will always open His arms to those who come to Him with broken, heavy-laden hearts. Thousands reading this newsletter today, who had the vilest of sins canceled at the cross, now harbor bitterness toward some other brother over some insignificant nonsense that “once upon a time” occurred. Oh, you will be ashamed when you see Christ for not obeying His Holy Word: Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath for given you (Ephesians 4:32).


Stephen had this spirit of forgiveness. As angry mobs crushed him to death with rocks in Acts 7:59,60, he cried, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. He was as human as any of us, but was filled with the Spirit of God (verse 55).


It is easy to “fly off the handle,” gossip about others, and run around with a grudge while talking about the power of the Holy Spirit-but it is all a farce. His Spirit will make you turn the other cheek; will make you love the unlovable, and will never seek revenge by hurting the one who hurt you.


God says if you want to spare yourself heartache and divine judgment, judge this sin in your own life and put it away. I am calling upon you to do this now. Remember, if my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land (2 Corinthians 7:14).



FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE

THE MYTHS OF OUR AGE


We are living in an age unlike any in the history of mankind. The last century alone saw more scientific and technological advancement than all the rest of history combined. Today we take for granted things that were but science fiction just a decade ago. Yet despite all this-perhaps because of it-our society as a whole may be more Baffled, Bewildered, & Befuddled than ever before.


When asked what it would take to satisfy them, most people respond with a list of things. Money, luxury items, cars, vacations, entertainment-these are what come to mind first when contemporary man thinks of being satisfied. How far from true satisfaction we have strayed!


This week we want to look at two myths of our age, that of instant gratification and materialism and then deal the myth of prestige next week.


The myth of instant gratification


One fallacy that has worked its way firmly into the fabric of modern reasoning is the belief that we can be most fulfilled when the gratification of our needs and desires is immediate. I call this the myth of instant gratification. We have become conditioned to expect on-the-spot results from everything. There is instant coffee, instant milk, instant potatoes, instant rice, instant printing, and instant photography. If one doesn’t have a digital camera that takes and prints instant snapshots, he can take his film to a place that will develop it and make color prints in less than an hour! Even banks have 24-hour electronic tellers so that we don’t have to wait until the facility opens. And we can even send packages across the country through a number of overnight delivery services.


There is nothing inherently wrong with any of these things. In fact, I gladly use such services and am thankful that they are available when I need them. But overnight delivery and 24-hour ATMs are the mild side of our obsession with getting things we want without having to wait. It also has an ugly side.


We cringe and are grieved at the growing phenomenon of drug abuse throughout all levels of society, as people look for a pill or an injection or some kind of stimulant that will instantly make them feel good. Yet, we often fail to see the connection between this kind of behavior and the elusive promise of instant gratification that beckons to us along every avenue of life.


We shake our heads in dismay when we read of a con man who defrauds needy people out of thousands of dollars in some get-rich-quick scheme. But isn’t the greed of both the con man and his victims really just an extension of the mentality that causes people to put themselves into unmanageable debt because they want something now and do not wish to wait for it? Yes, we all must come to the realization that our pursuit of instant gratification is destroying our society like a cancer.


Luke 15 relates the familiar story of the prodigal son, who, like so many today, wanted instant wealth. Anxious to do his own thing and experience life for himself, he refused to wait for that which would be his in due time. He wanted what was coming to him now.


His father gave him his inheritance, and the young man immediately began squandering it in mad pursuit of instant gratification. He traveled abroad and became caught up in the “action” of his day. “Eat, drink, and be merry,” he thought, “for tomorrow we die.” This humanistic philosophy of the ages quickly became his mindset and the motivating force in his life.


Then the bottom fell out of everything. An economic crisis struck the land, and he suddenly found himself far from home. Dejected and bewildered, he was forced to accept the most menial of tasks just to exist, and his heart longed for what he once had and took for granted-the love and security of his father’s home. As he thought on his foolish selfishness and wrongdoing, he made the most important decision of his life: I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants (Luke 15:18, 19).


Modern man is not different from that young man, except that instead of coming to his senses, acknowledging his misdeeds, and turning from them, he continues blindly onward, baffled, bewildered, and befuddled. He never seems to learn that instant gratification is generally also fleeting and seldom truly satisfying.


The myth of materialism


We have become hypnotized by the myth of materialism-the belief that material things are the source of true satisfaction. However, this is an empty and dehumanizing philosophy in which things become more important than people, beauty more desired than virtue, power more respected than character, and status more prestigious than integrity. Consequently, we find ourselves foolishly pursuing the very things that God has said make being close to Him more difficult and sometimes impossible.


Although most of us do enjoy some added pleasures to our lives above and beyond our basic needs, we must ask ourselves one important question-do they control us? As Detroit News staff writer Chuck Bennett stated: “Let’s be honest-we all love material things. At least most of us do, even if we can only dream about having them. And it seems once we begin to get a taste of them, even with one little item, we want more. Yesterday’s luxury becomes today’s frill and tomorrow’s necessity; no matter what level we’re at, we want something better.”


Mr. Bennett has captured the essence of man’s obsession with the material. The main problem is the obvious-we never seem to have enough. When a person becomes a millionaire, he soon finds himself wanting to become a billionaire. On a lesser level, others have their hearts set on obtaining larger houses, finer automobiles, additional income, more power, and more prestige. Instead of rejoicing and being thankful for what God has given them or allowed them to accomplish, they become consumed with a desire for still more and believe that they need it to be happy. The result is bondage.


Have you heard of the Quaker who wanted to teach a great lesson to his friends and neighbors? He had a large sign printed and put up on the vacant lot next to his house. The sign said: “I will give the deed to this lot to anyone who is absolutely contented.” Applicants were directed to apply next door at his home.


There was a man of great wealth living in the community, and as he drove by and saw the sign, he stopped. He thought to himself, “If there is anyone in our area who is absolutely contented it is I. I have everything that I could possibly want.” So he went to the Quaker’s house and knocked on the door.


The Quaker came to the door, and the man said, “I read the sign you placed on the vacant lot next door. I understand you want to give it to anyone who is contented.”


“Yes,” said the Quaker.


“I think I am absolutely contented, ” the man replied. “I will be glad if you will make out the deed to me.”


“Friend, if thou art contented, what dost thou want with my lot?” the Quaker asked.


The Jewish Talmud says that man is born with his hands clenched, but he dies with his hands wide open.


How tragically empty are riches and possessions! Perhaps you have had the experience of wanting something for a long time. Maybe it was a car or a house or something less-but you desired to have it so much that it was all you could think about. You saved for it, planned for it, hoped for it, and dreamed about it. But when you finally got it, after a time you found it to be disappointingly unfulfilling.


On the other hand, some have fallen prey to the notion that self-deprivation is the quickest and easiest path to spirituality. Such reasoning is equally fallacious and can result in a lifetime of despair and bewilderment .


A few years ago during a meeting we were conducting in Atlanta, a young girl came and asked me to make an announcement concerning a local Christian ministry for runaway young people. She wanted me to tell any such persons who might be present that they would be welcome to seek help from her group. Wanting to find out more about this ministry, I asked, “What do you do with the runaways who come to you seeking help?”


“Well,” she said, “we just come together and stay and have fellowship.”


“How do you get food?” I asked. “How do you support your ministry?”


“We just ask God for it,” she replied.


“You mean you don’t work?”


“No,” she answered, amazed that I would ask such a question. “We just live there.”


Further investigation revealed that the “ministry” she wanted me to promote was a communal group who went out to shopping centers and street corners and stopped people to ask for money. Members of the group were not encouraged to seek employment or to return home, nor were they learning anything of value as far as I could tell. In fact, their lifestyle was characterized more by slothfulness than by anything else. I lovingly explained to my youthful inquirer that the Bible teaches …if any would not work, neither should he eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10). God has promised to meet our needs but He has also commanded us to be diligent, hard working, and wise in our stewardship.


Those who center their thoughts on the temporal, as well as those who refuse to acknowledge that material possessions should occupy a place in one’s life, cannot be truly satisfied. And neither group is truly wealthy, no matter how much or how little they have.


Scripture is consistent in its teaching that the love of money is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10). However, this passage is often misquoted and misapplied. Please notice that it does not say that money is the root of all evil. Rather, it is the love of money-the placing of material things above the more important things in life-that brings the piercing of oneself through with many sorrows. God can, and often does, reward our faithfulness to Him and His service with material blessings.


Upon his appointment as King of Israel, Solomon asked God for an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad (1 Kings 3:9). Because he sought the Lord and others before himself, God not only granted Solomon’s request but also added, I have also given thee that which thou has not asked, both riches, and honor (v. 13).


Likewise, Job, who suffered great losses, trials, and pain, remained faithful to God, and …the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning (Job 42:12).


Certainly, Godliness with contentment is great gain (1 Timothy 6:6), and as we have clearly seen, it is not how much one possesses that makes him great in God’s eyes and satisfied in life. To the contrary, it is whether or not he allows his possessions to possess him! Those who are truly wealthy are those who have discovered the spiritual riches and deep satisfaction that comes through a life of surrender to God.



CHANGED LIVES-one at a time

Dear Dr. Van Impe,


This morning I was watching your program & I remembered when I first encountered your ministry. Your ministry is what brought me back to God 21yrs ago. I was a young married woman with a child on the way. I had been saved at age 13yrs old but had been away from God. I started watching your program & God used it to bring me back.


I wanted to thank you for your dedication & integrity to God’s Word. Thank you for your obedience & sacrifice. You are changing lives. I love that you have never compromised HIS WORD not once. You always teach the truth. This world needs that as there are many who are teaching a watered down word because they are afraid to stand up for what is right. Thank You for never giving into the pressure to conform.


I pray that the Father blesses you & keeps you & your wife Rexella. Pray He continues to lead you & protect you & strengthen you to finish the race. May He continue to make His face shine upon you both….


In Jesus mighty name. Amen

In God’s Love,

Amy F.


 


I wanted to tell you that I opened the message for June 17. It was an answer to prayer. It was exactly what I needed to hear at exactly the time I needed to hear it. Thank you so much for your wonderful ministry. I thank my Lord and Savior for the help he sends us through you, his faithful servants.


Carolyn Y.



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