Evangelism, Part 3 - Printable Version

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Evangelism, Part 3 - DeanZF - 02-10-2010


I was humming a chorus today, and it was almost a Bill Cosby "Noah" moment where I heard the Lord.

:ding: *ding* "What does that phrase mean to you?"

"The fruit of my lips giving thanks, Lord?" "Yes, the fruit of lips. What does that mean to you?"

I nearly did an Elijah response, "Thou knowest, Lord". It was pretty much as though He knew I was going there. That phrase in the song played on a loop, virtually ignoring the rest of the song! Scriptures came to mind, old teachings came to mind. Psalm 51:15 says "Open my lips that my mouth might declare Your praise." Hosea 14:2b says, "Take away all iniquity and receive us graciously, that we may present the fruit of our lips" Hebrews 13:15 says about God-pleasing sacrifices, "Through Him (Jesus) then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name."

Looking in Strongs, the Hebrews citation talks about fruit in the context of either fruit from tree or vine, or offspring as in fruit of one's loins or "the fruit of your womb, Jesus Christ." Hmmm. The Hosea citation is even more powerful and colorful. The phrase might better be translated as "the calves of our lips" instead of fruit. Add the Psalm 51 citation and the point is that the offspring of our very mouths is to be a sacrifice (like that calf from Hosea) to be offered up as sacrifice. David talked about not offering sacrifices for which he did not pay. Sacrifices not only are required of us, but are pretty much defined as having to cost us something. No cheap offerings of sacrifice to the God of the universe, right?

All of that went quickly through my head. And as I furled my brow, wondering where He was going with that. Then one of my comments from Evangelism, Part 2 came to mind. Sheep beget sheep, not shepherds. Hmm. Sheep are the fruit of a sheep's womb. And then another scripture came to mind, that out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. Stay with me here, it really is not a large stretch. It is going to make you connect some dots, though. Smile

What kind of stuff comes out of my mouth, especially at work? Gossip? Slander? Rumor? Innuendo? Criticism of employer, supervisor, coworkers, or the infamous "system"? Salty language? Sly or risqué comments? Snide comments about clients? Those things come out of my MOUTH, but they come as the overflow of my unconverted heart. Or at least my not completely converted heart. Aeeeee.

This is about walking carefully, circumspectly, thinking about what's about to come out of that awful thing, my mouth. James talked about the tongue and how it is like the rudder of the ship. Same as out of the heart... Control the tongue/mouth and the body comes under control. How do we control the tongue, since the mouth speaks in response to the content of the heart? We have to get our hearts "saved" or fully converted. Taking thoughts captive, guarding out lips and mouths, all those things meaning moving ever toward the fullness of maturity, or {i}teleios[/i].

:geezer: "Okay," I hear you say. "What does that have to do with evangelism?"

Have you ever followed a car with heavily Christian bumper stickers and watched them zoom at 90 miles an hour in a 55 mph zone? Ever seen that same driver holler angrily or obscenely, shake a fist, or make other offensive gestures? Does the through run through your mind as it does mine, "And I should follow Jesus with your example? What's He done for YOU?" Bumper stickers and flawed casual conversation from a known, recognized, self-proclaimed Christian source does NOT present a good witness. When someone hurts, can that person receive ministry or counsel from a heart that overflows like that?

At least in part, evangelism is the way we live our lives and by that clean walk, we earn the privilege of offering an introduction to our Lord, the very solution to the problems of a co-worker, a country, a world.