Words are amazing things. Words can build up or tear down. Words can tell the truth or
lie. Words have power to sway, but not to much power in reality. It is with words that we put people in high regard and also with words we tear down their towers. Words make terrible building materials, but great building dressings. Words are how we communicate with each other and with the Lord. God uses His Word to communicate with His children and His Word is powerful, and real, and true. Our words are too many times hollow and quickly contrived and lacking power. Paul knew this as he wrote to the church in Corinth and in Chapter 4 he further emphasizes the importance of being real and powerful. Words don’t necessarily bring power to a situation, but if power is already there the words spoken out of that power bring truth and reality to it. The church at Corinth had been exaggerating what they had been doing and what was happening through their ministry and that was reported to Paul. He hit it head on telling them that many of them were rich while he and other believers out in the field were poorly taken care of and wanting, but rich in spirit. The church there had apparently accused Paul of using his gifts from them unwisely and tried to call his hand about it. Paul went on to tell them that they lived in the security of their home, while he and the other disciples lived as homeless, roughly treated people, without much, but the Gospel. Paul sent Timothy to them to teach them again what it means to be a follower of Christ and to reaffirm his earlier teachings so they might get back in line in their thinking about those who had surrendered their lives to full time Christian service. Paul doesn’t avoid the subject, even though it deals with him getting support, but brings their thinking back in line with the power that comes from their support, both in spirit and in truth. The church had some of their leaders getting arrogant about their position like Paul wasn’t coming back to check on them, and he confirms that he is coming back and will be there soon. He brings out the point that their words don’t mean much to him, but God’s power in their lives does. In verse 20 of Chapter 4 he says, “For the kingdom of God does not consist in words, but in power.” In this particular situation Paul is having to bring them up to speed in the area of “talk” and how “talk” can destroy or help. I have been faced many times with “talk” and the putrid stench it can make when powerless and human induced. Usually it begins as a prayer request and balloons to a full force lie over time and the destructive path it blazes leaves not only the one being talked about in shambles, but also those who get caught up in its path as well. These words that have no real spiritual power can tear down the highest wall of protection in a committed person’s life and replace it with doubt and despair, and thus make that person powerless. In reality these words have no true power though and the end result is usually something less than what God wants. Words……Just Words…….. Paul goes on to tell them that they are going to hear it from him and in verse 21 asks them if they want their rebuke with a rod or with love and a spirit of gentleness? This rebuke by Paul then moves on to a new level of accountability with him asking them about the reported immorality in the church. You see, Paul knows if there is no power, then the words are powerless to help the cause of Christ also, but the reported sin in the church must be dealt with “since they brought it up.” Paul goes on to expose and bring to light the immorality in the church and that the source of the bad attitude brought on against him and the other disciples who were out doing the work of the Lord was birthed in lies and gossip. Paul wasn’t to blame, but the hurtful words that affected his support was brought on by the immorality in the church that was supporting him. Thus the power of the gospel was hampered and compromised in their lives. They wanted to talk about someone who was a long way off so they could not defend themselves, but Paul decided to go to their location, thus stopping the talk and setting into motion a kind of purging that dealt with the sin of the church head on. It is a purging that included teaching on true service, marriage, divorce, and many other subjects that were painful at best. All of this happened because of a War of Words…..the scenario might go like this. Someone would say “I heard that Paul and his companions are living it up and that they make more money than most of us.” He must really think he is something. We need to cut back on their support because they are making way too much money.” In reality, Paul and his companions were not making a lot of money for what they needed to make and most of it went to expenses the people could never understand because they weren’t walking in his shoes. Paul would go straight to the source of the gossip and ask them to clarify who said what. At that point no manner of avoidance would stop Paul from getting to the source. He would probably find out that the source was someone who was living an immoral life and then he would expose their basis for accusation with truthful power. The power of truth would have so much power that it would cause the situation to be fixed immediately, so as not to waste anymore time than had already been wasted. The weak words were replaced with truth and the Word Wars were over. Problem solved!! I get the feeling that the boldness Paul had in getting Christians killed prior to his meeting Jesus, was replaced with a boldness to keep the truth the truth after meeting Jesus. In other words, he didn’t mince words!!! “No, I’m not going to bring this up cause it may hurt their feelings” stuff. Real truth….Head on!!
Why do we have Word Wars? Because like the church at Corinth we have empowered immoral living people by putting them in positions of leadership and thus allowing their powerless words to gain power in making spiritual decisions. Leadership mistakes always have power decreasing results. So, a person who is being looked at for leadership needs to be qualified in every area, or you have got a problem. That problem will almost always affect ministry and the lost being saved, so pray hard and live up front and real, because the effect is eternal…. Don’t let feelings and popularity and position cause you to put someone in leadership…….EVER!!! You will regret it when it’s time to move forward. Satan will use said person for his bidding and not God’s if at all possible. You do remember the name Judas don’t you? That didn’t go so well either, so keep it real and follow God’s Word, not man’s when making decisions. His Word has power and man’s word is powerless. In the case of word wars, God’s Word will win every time if we use it. If we give man’s word the edge, anarchy and sin will be victorious. This little blog will really make you look up the next time someone says, “I give you my word.” Man’s word cannot be trusted because there is no power in it. God’s Word has the power we live by and can always be trusted. Go by God’s Word. It’s called the Bible and it is a great standard for living life and doing church work and I believe we need to get back to it again if we are ever going to realize true power. No more word wars, God’s Word wins!!!
The Pilgrimage continues….