The Holy Context of Divine Speech-Act

Language is an essential characteristic of the tri-personal God (the Father, Son, and Spirit). It is a necessity of His social being and a communicative attribute of His truthful nature. Thus, when God speaks, He speaks truth (Prov. 8:8-9). However, because of the presence of sin in the human heart, the “straightness” and “rightness” of God’s word is humanly viewed as foolish (1 Cor. 2). Hence, the root-problem between God and Man is “natural.” Meaning, the characteristics of their natures are opposite from each other. For this reason, when God speaks from His level, man can’t understand it because he views it according to his own context as a sinner. Now, this does not mean that the divine words are not clear and understandable by common sense and reason. The human problem according to St. Paul is the sin within him (Rom. 1:21).

 

The natural problem then resides in the spiritual and moral nature of man. Man views and interprets God’s word according to the impulse and dictates of his sinful nature – sinful earthly bias. Thus, even though God said, “all the words of my mouth are righteous,” that they are all felicitous in their divine context, on the human context they become infelicitous. In other words, God’s word is misinterpreted because our human understanding is affected and influenced by sin.

Let’s take for example the teaching of Jesus in Mt. 5:33-37 regarding Oaths. Jesus said,

 

“Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ But I say to you ‘Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.’

In this passage, Jesus is not opposed to making an oath before the Lord as admonished in Lev. 19:12. The issue that he’s pushing here has to do with Jewish misinterpretation and misrepresentation. The Law tells them to swear to God in truth and sincerity. However, because they want to hide and cover up their insincerity before God and their neighbors, they twisted the clear statement of Lev. 19:12. They said that only those oaths which literally used the name of God in their vows are seriously accountable to God. Thus, if a Jew is making a business contract with his neighbor and he wants to express his sincerity in that transaction, he could raise his hand towards heaven as a sign of his commitment. Nonetheless, such kind of vow, although solemn in the sight of man, is not serious in the sight of God. They believe that God will not hold them accountable in that situation. But as you can see, Jesus utterly shattered this kind of attitude by saying that the sacredness of a vow is not literally tied to the verbal pronouncement of God’s name. Rather, every vow is sacred as long as the presence of God is invoked upon it.

God’s words are always felicitous. As a God of all situations and conditions, God speaks with clear and true context. He is never out of context. Therefore, whenever and wherever we think or see that God seems to speak infelicitously; we need to remind ourselves that our human context – as sinners – hinders us to see and understand the righteous beauty of God’s word. For this reason, man should humble himself at the foot of the Cross in order to receive the Spirit of God who will enlighten his mind to the truth of God.

 

 

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The Methodology of Satan’s Speech-Act

If hypocrisy is a subtle form of speech-act, lying is its destructive form. Of course, both bring a damaging effect, but by emphasis, hypocrisy has to do more with the attitude of the person. Lying has to do with his expression or communication. By motivation and manner, lies subtly destroy its target. The classic example for its successful execution is found in the temptation of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3. The angle of the story focuses on Satan versus Eve.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. (Gen. 3:1)

 

The methodology of lies is deception. Deception is an advanced level of negative speech-act clothed in positive expression. By motivation, it is offensive. It comes from an intention to bring damage to its target. In the case of Satan versus Eve, the crafty devil approached the woman with a pretentious concern for her well-being. Satan asked, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden?’” Outwardly, the question may sound innocent and caring. But during the process of conversation, the supposed innocent questions became skeptical. Satan used the power of suggestion to cast seeds of doubt in the mind of Eve. He did this by misinterpretation and misrepresentation. By misinterpretation, he assessed first the understanding of the woman concerning the revealed word of God toward what is right and wrong – “Did God actually say?” (Gen. 3:1). And when Satan found out that Eve had a legalistic understanding of God’s word – adding something which God did not speak (Gen. 3:2) –he moved to his next lie, which was to misrepresent God. The serpent-devil did this by discrediting the character of God (Gen. 3:5). He wanted Eve to view God as a killjoy God; a God who does not care for her happiness. Unfortunately, as the story goes on to tell us, Eve succumbed to the temptation. She doubted the goodness of her Creator and bought the sweet lies of the stranger.

From a Christian perspective, it is without question that the moral basis of right and wrong is God’s word. God as the Creator of the universe is also the absolute Legislator; He defines and describes what is good and evil. Thus, the deceptive trap of Satan’s constative utterance can be only countered by divine

constative utterance. This is the reason why the Church is admonished to grow in her knowledge of Christ (2 Cor. 11:2- 4). The more we know the truth of Christ, the more we will decipher the deception of Satan (Jn. 8:31-38). The apostle John says, “I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one” (1 Jn. 2:14).

 

 

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Constatives vs. Performatives

However, as constatives have their functions, we have to understand that constatives are not as powerful as performatives. There are people who simply said, and then there are the people who went on and did. The impact of this is powerful and life changing.

Anyone can speak a lot of words and act smart and knowledgeable. Yet we believe what is spoken if we see in the life of the person how he does and serves other people – how he lives out what he says. As such, the disciples were commissioned by Jesus to not just speak, but to also do:

When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.

3 He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt. 4 Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. 5 If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”

6 So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere. (Luke 9:1-6)

There is a power in doing as you are saying. Here, we can see that the disciples proclaimed and healed, putting together performatives and constatives in a very powerful and mighty way. They were also warned of the things they were not to do, and they didn’t do those things.

 

In another passage, Jesus spoke out a performative and the disciples went on to perform what Jesus said:

15 He said to them, “Go into all the world. Preach the good news to everyone. 16 Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who does not believe will be punished. 17 Here are the miraculous signs that those who believe will do. In my name they will drive out demons. They will speak in languages they had not known before. 18 They will pick up snakes with their hands. And when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all. They will place their hands on sick people. And the people will get well.”

19 When the Lord Jesus finished speaking to them, he was taken up into heaven. He sat down at the right hand of God. 20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere. The Lord worked with them. And he backed up his word by the signs that went with it. (Mark 16:15-20)

Jesus told them to go into the world and preach, and they did. Out of a performative spoken by Jesus to them, they went on to preach and do signs and wonders. What’s even more amazing about this verse is that it speaks of how the Lord backed up his word by the signs that went with it.

In the same way, if we are going to disciple people or teach people and instruct them in the ways they are to go about life, we must also be able to back up the things we say by the things we ourselves our doing. If we want our lives to speak to others in a powerful way, we must learn how to use not just constatives but also performatives – if not more so.

 

 

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Constatives vs. Performatives

However, as constatives have their functions, we have to understand that constatives are not as powerful as performatives. There are people who simply said, and then there are the people who went on and did. The impact of this is powerful and life changing.

Anyone can speak a lot of words and act smart and knowledgeable. Yet we believe what is spoken if we see in the life of the person how he does and serves other people – how he lives out what he says. As such, the disciples were commissioned by Jesus to not just speak, but to also do:

When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.

3 He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt. 4 Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. 5 If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”

6 So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere. (Luke 9:1-6)

There is a power in doing as you are saying. Here, we can see that the disciples proclaimed and healed, putting together performatives and constatives in a very powerful and mighty way. They were also warned of the things they were not to do, and they didn’t do those things.

 

In another passage, Jesus spoke out a performative and the disciples went on to perform what Jesus said:

15 He said to them, “Go into all the world. Preach the good news to everyone. 16 Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who does not believe will be punished. 17 Here are the miraculous signs that those who believe will do. In my name they will drive out demons. They will speak in languages they had not known before. 18 They will pick up snakes with their hands. And when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all. They will place their hands on sick people. And the people will get well.”

19 When the Lord Jesus finished speaking to them, he was taken up into heaven. He sat down at the right hand of God. 20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere. The Lord worked with them. And he backed up his word by the signs that went with it. (Mark 16:15-20)

Jesus told them to go into the world and preach, and they did. Out of a performative spoken by Jesus to them, they went on to preach and do signs and wonders. What’s even more amazing about this verse is that it speaks of how the Lord backed up his word by the signs that went with it.

In the same way, if we are going to disciple people or teach people and instruct them in the ways they are to go about life, we must also be able to back up the things we say by the things we ourselves our doing. If we want our lives to speak to others in a powerful way, we must learn how to use not just constatives but also performatives – if not more so.

 

 

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The Purpose of Constatives in the Bible

A good majority of Jesus’ teachings were constatives, as he was simply stating truths that were unfamiliar to all the people during that time. Certainly, along with the constatives came performatives, but teachings such as the Sermon on the Mount were largely, if not entirely, constatives.

 

One of my favorite constatives is when Jesus was comforting the disciples and was reassuring them of their place in him, as well as who he was. We can see that instance in this following passage:

1“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God. Believe in me also. 2 There are many rooms in my Father’s house. If this were not true, would I have told you that I am going there? Would I have told you that I would prepare a place for you there? 3 If I go and do that, I will come back. And I will take you to be with me. Then you will also be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”

5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going. So how can we know the way?”

6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know my Father also. From now on, you do know him. And you have seen him.”

8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father. That will be enough for us.”

9 Jesus answered, “Don’t you know me, Philip? I have been among you such a long time! Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. So how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father? Don’t you believe that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority.

The Father lives in me. He is the one who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say I am in the Father. Also believe that the Father is in me. Or at least believe what the works I have been doing say about me. 12 What I’m about to tell you is true. Anyone who believes in me will do the works I have been doing. In fact, they will do even greater things. That’s because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do anything you ask in my name. Then the Father will receive glory from the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name. I will do it. (John 14:1-14)

Even when the disciples had questions, doubts, and fears, the statements of Jesus did not change. Their hesitancies did not diminish the truth of constatives. Such is true with us. When others question the statements you make about Jesus based on the Bible, the truth of the Bible does not diminish.

What the disciples said in the passage was true for them at the time. They couldn’t grasp the thought of Jesus leaving them and they did not know where he was going. They need a form of proof or assurance that what Jesus was saying were facts. But Jesus himself was the proof.

The inability to comprehend a certain constative does not make it a false or failed constative. In that scenario, the constative remains true.

And then we have the constatives that teach, and the best example of this is Jesus:

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will

say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:21-27)

Jesus, again, was simply stating facts. It is true that not everyone who calls him “Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven. It is true that those who put his words into practice are considered wise and that those who don’t are just waiting to be devastated when storms come.

 

Constatives have many purposes, many forms, and what’s important is that we know the reason why these statements are made and how true they are to us, even if they fail to be considered true to others.

 

Experience the Power of Prophecy as a gift to open your mind to receive the Mind of Christ.

How can make your prayer a request to the Lord?

What assertions are you making?

The prayer for this week is to have the ability to SEE God in every single thing that is true in the world. At the end of the day, the Lord is TRUE and there is nothing false in Him.

 

The Bible is an assertion of God’s Word. How is your faith an assertion?

 

If faith is an assertive response to what God has said and done, how can we express our praise and obedience to God?

 

How can you be like the Centurion, and emulate his speech act for faith?

 

 

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The Example of Christian Speech-Act of Faith

Whenever God speaks, truth is asserted. His word then is the basis of what is right and wrong, even the foundation of meaningful human responsibility. Thus, when God speaks, the proper and reverent response is faith. This kind of faith is not a leap in the dark, but a leap in the light of God’s declaration. It is an intelligent faith – a faith based on solid facts. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

 

Perhaps, this “conviction of things not seen” is admirably exemplified by a Roman centurion in Matthew 8:5-13. According to this account,

When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.” And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.” But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith.

 

The Jews and their religious leaders have the Old Testament scriptures to guide them in identifying the coming Messiah. But their outward assessment of Jesus hindered them from believing his messianic assertions. Despite the display of irrefutable miraculous works, they judged him as a man possessed by the spirit of Satan (Jn. 5:43-47; 10:38). This is the reason why Jesus in this scenario marveled at the confident assertion of the Centurion’s faith. Think about it: Jesus marveled! It pleased him so much that he praised the faith of the Centurion by saying that no one in Israel had such kind of faith. Of course, what Jesus said here was not an exaggeration but an exact commendation of the Centurion’s faith. “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him” (Jn. 1:11). Thus, it is a very solemn warning then to the religious that religion in itself cannot bring him into a right relationship with God. If religion becomes a set of human rules and regulations – like the Judaism of the Scribes and Pharisees – it will turn away people from a correct view of God. Such kind of religion is not uplifting God’s scriptural assertions but establishing human traditions.

 

The reason why the Centurion was able to express an admirable faith to Jesus was because he viewed him according to his own speech-act assertions. The centurion’s belief was pure and focused. It wasn’t manipulated by the religious assessments of the Pharisees. It was single-mindedly focused on Jesus. Hence, when he humbly asked the Lord to heal his servant, he did not bother Jesus to go to his house personally. The centurion believed that the speech of Jesus is mighty and active. It has an imperative power over the unseen things of the universe. Thus, it was enough for him to hear the words of Jesus. Distance doesn’t matter – “but only say the word, and my servant will be healed,” he said.

 

As you can see, faith is an assertive response to what God has said and done – a divine speech-act. With this kind of assertion, we also express our human speech-act to God in the form of praise and obedience. Therefore, if you want to offer an admirable expression of faith, marvelous or pleasing in the sight of God, the key is to follow the faith of the Centurion (Heb. 11:6).

 

 

 

Experience the Power of Prophecy as a gift to open your mind to receive the Mind of Christ.

 

Making Assertions of Christ Part 2

People will question and doubt your assertions – especially if they are rather different from what others claim. However, our assertions should turn into action. Here, we see Jesus being threatened to be stone if he continued making claims as he did, and yet he went on and stood firm. He didn’t falter he didn’t change his mind about what his assertions and beliefs were in spite of the threats and the dangers that came with standing up for who he truly was.

 

In the same way, we will encounter opposition and it may not be as extreme as what they went through back then. While there will certainly be detractors and there will be verbal and maybe social persecution, it would be rare to have someone or a group of people in modern-day America openly flog you and crucify you for your beliefs. We would probably cry out human rights and find a way to prevent such a thing from ever happening again.

 

That is such a privilege for us, for in other nations people can’t even mention the name of Jesus Christ. As much as they want to, they cannot lay claim and say that they are Christians. Even if they want to disprove or debate with someone, if they want to assert their beliefs, they would have to literally lay their life on the line. Even in this day and age, such things exist. We may not be directly affected by these incidents, but it would be helpful to know that these are still going on, not just so we could pray about them, but also so we could embrace the freedom and privilege that we have to be able to assert whatever it is that we want to assert.

 

Experience the Power of Prophecy as a gift to open your mind to receive the Mind of Christ.

Making Assertions of Christ

In line with this, we must take the closest look at how we make assertions about Christ and the Gospel. Let’s once again take a look at what Paul says about assertions and how he went about it:

What I have just said I repeat–if anyone is preaching to you a Good News other than that which you originally received, let him be accursed. For is it man’s favor or God’s that I aspire to? Or am I seeking to please men? If I were still a man-pleaser, I should not be Christ’s bondservant. For I must tell you, brethren, that the Good News which was proclaimed by me is not such as man approves of. For, in fact, it was not from man that I received or learnt it, but by a revelation from Jesus Christ. For you have heard of my early career in Judaism–how I furiously persecuted the Church of God, and made havoc of it; and how in devotion to Judaism I outstripped many men of my own age among my people, being far more zealous than they on behalf of the traditions of my forefathers. But when He who set me apart even from my birth, and called me by His grace, saw fit to reveal His Son within me in order that I might tell among the Gentiles the Good News concerning Him, at once I did not confer with any human being, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were my seniors in the Apostleship, but I went away into Arabia, and afterwards came back to Damascus. Then, three years later, I went up to Jerusalem to inquire for Peter, and I spent a fortnight with him. I saw none of the other Apostles, except James, the Lord’s brother. In making these assertions I am speaking the truth, as in the sight of God. (Galatians 1:9-20)

 

There’s something interesting about the way Paul asserted these things – “as in the sight of the Lord.” In the previous passage, he said something about the way Christian teachers spoke and asserted of Christ while not being in line with the actual word of Christ. Now, he dares say that he makes these assertions as in the sight of the Lord, who would surely know what is true and what is not. This is Paul, who understood that Christians at the time were subject to stoning and flogging and imprisonment, as he so experienced himself. He testifies these things as if he could not lie about them, and he really says that he speaks these things in truth.

Here lies the tension in whether we are as confident that our assertions about Christ are actually what is really truth. Would we be willing to be subjected to the amount of physical, emotional, psychological, and social torture that Paul had to

 

face in fighting for what he asserts to be true? Can we testify that such is the truth of Christ not just in our lives but even in the lives of other people?

 

Christ himself had to make assertions about himself, and in this passage we get to see what it means to really be certain of an assertion:

22 Then came the Feast of Hanukkah at Jerusalem. It was winter. 23 Jesus was in the temple courtyard walking in Solomon’s Porch. 24 The Jews who were gathered there around Jesus spoke to him. They said, “How long will you keep us waiting? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”

25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you. But you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name are a witness for me. 26 But you do not believe, because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice. I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never die. No one will steal them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than anyone. No one can steal them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

31 Again the Jews who had challenged him picked up stones to kill him. 32 But Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. Which good work are you throwing stones at me for?”

33 “We are not throwing stones at you for any good work,” they replied. “We are stoning you for saying a very evil thing. You are only a man. But you claim to

be God.”

34 Jesus answered them, “Didn’t God say in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods” ’? 35 We know that Scripture is always true. God spoke to some people and called them ‘gods.’ 36 If that is true, what about the one the Father set apart as his very own? What about this one the Father sent into the world? Why do you charge me with saying a very evil thing? Is it because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? 37 Don’t believe me unless I do the works of my Father. 38 But what if I do them? Even if you don’t believe me, believe these works. Then you will know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” 39 Again they tried to arrest him. But he escaped from them. (John 10:22-38)

 

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To Assert is to Enter a Commitment

In many ways, making an assertion is like letting everyone know that you are committed to a certain idea, and beyond just being committed to a certain belief, you are committed to truth. For example, when you assert that this speaker is the best in all the land, you commit yourself to the truth in that statement.

This is why the Scriptures tread gently on the waters of assertions. This applies in many areas of our lives, but on the topic of making assertions about Biblical doctrines, Paul goes on to say:

3 As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, 4 nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith. 5 But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion, 7 wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions. (1 Timothy 1:3-7)

We need to learn to be careful about making assertions, as doing so makes it that we are staking a claim and really, in a sense, seemingly fighting for a certain truth that we hold. There is danger in making assertions only to be found false. People can make assertions very confidently and end up speaking that which is not true. In fact, it is usually those who appear to be unashamedly sure of their stand that end up being proven wrong about it somewhere down the line.

 

Warnings about false teachers and prophets fall under this area. We have seen plenty of teachers and preachers claim something that appears to biblical, only to find out eventually that they are wolves in sheep’s clothing and were actually deceiving multitudes simply because they appeared so sure of themselves. Here enters the value of knowing how to discern that which is true from that which is not.

 

Experience the Power of Prophecy as a gift to open your mind to receive the Mind of Christ.

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How to Make Assertions

People who do not agree on the same thing tend to find themselves in the same situation, and you probably have experienced this yourself too. It’s certainly common, especially if you are so passionate and grounded in your beliefs. But Scripture reminds us that there is a way to go about this:

Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, 2 to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and

always to be gentle toward everyone.

3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.

9 But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. (Titus 3:1-9)

 

We are in fact to avoid what the Bible calls foolish, unprofitable, and useless. This is not to say that you no longer speak up if you know it will cause friction, as we are still called to speak truth, though always in grace. There is a time and place to have discussions about these things, and when such is done smartly and gracefully, then you know that your assertions will be heard, listened to, and properly considered by the other party.

 

When they refuse to listen, then be peaceable and considerate. Be gentle even to those who go so far to disagree with you.

Remember that at one point, we were just like them who are hardheaded and refuse to listen to the truth. Surely, I’m not the only one to roll my eyes when I was being preached to, thinking that I knew it all and that such things were irrelevant to me. We were deceived, foolish, and blinded to the truth. While you probably hope that your assertions will bring others to light, we all know it isn’t really as easy as just saying it. People have to be willing to believe what you believe, people have to be willing to listen to and receive what you are asserting.

We are not called to argue with others or debate with them with our assertions. We are called to assert that God is kind and it is because of His love for us that we are saved. Our assertion shouldn’t lie on the basis of us knowing more than others. Our assertion lies on the basis of Christ and what he did for us. Our certainty isn’t our knowledge, our certainty is Christ.

And it is in asserting this way that others will be brought to Christ. It is in knowing what the truth is and how to go about speaking this truth, hoping that in speaking this truth, we will get to see the action of lives being surrendered to his Lordship and hearts being transformed by the knowledge of Christ.

 

 

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The Word is Made Flesh Through an Offer

We have all received and presented offers in our lives. On a day-to-day basis, we may have offered to open the door for someone, carried a bag of groceries, or shared a cab ride. We have also been at the other end, receiving an offer that we may or may not have accepted. It is usually judged based on the person’s intent. A big factor in the acceptance of an offer would be the

 

sincerity shown in the act of offering, because there is also an act of commitment involved. Generally, it is human nature to be helpful towards each other in society. It is an altruistic trait that we have to aid someone in need. The concept of offering shows one’s willingness to do something and leaves the decision to the recipient to decide whether to accept or reject it. It is simply conditional upon the recipient’s acceptance.

 

The beauty of the speech act of offer is that it is tied to the speech of act of request – except this time you are on the receiving end. For someone to offer you something is like them requesting that you give them permission to give you what they are offering. While we do have instances where we question the intent of the one making the offer, at the end of the day it is as if they are leaving something in your hands that is up for you to decide.

Should you find the one making the offer guilty of trying to buy your affections, then you have the choice to turn him away. However, if you are honestly interested in the offer being presented to you, in spite of the probable motives, then you are at liberty to accept it.

Let’s take sales people, for instance. We encounter a lot of them and sometimes just tend to straight up ignore them if what they are offering is not of value or interest to you. But if you find yourself being attracted to what they are saying as they describe the benefits that you can get should you accept their offer, then you would really stop and take your time discussing everything with them.

Such is the power of words and the power of stating an offer, knowing that the recipient will also find it enticing and beneficial to them. Even if we know that the sales people are just trying to meet their quotas and earn a living amidst the spiels and statements that they just want to see us not miss out on something, we also believe in the value of what they are offering and know that as they gain something from it, it will also be of gain to us.

 

Your weekly dose of prophetic wisdom and anointing awaits you. Join our LIVE Conference Call!

 

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