Friday, 7 October 2016

Updated audioboo index


Please take time to visit our WhatThinkYe audioboo page. These podcasts are usually around 1 minute long. Please make them known to your friends.

 Latest series: The word of God is not bound (2 Timothy 2:9)
 The Word Unbound Introduction 
The Word Unbound by Tyranny
* The Word Unbound by Time
* The Word of God Unbound by Tradition
* The Word of God Unbound by Transgression
 * The word of God Unbound by Talents

Friday, 9 September 2016

CS Lewis

I had opportunity to read two books last week, with the first leading me to look at the second. The first book was Ravi Zacharias' "The real face of atheism" which I found very good and helpful. On a number of occasions, he quoted (as many modern Evangelical writers are wont to do) from CS Lewis and particularly from Lewis's autobiography "Surprised by Joy." Lewis was a hard boiled atheist before coming to embrace the Theist position. As providence would have it, I discovered the second book in a charity shop where the bargain was 3 books for £1, so the costs was negligible. I read the book last Friday evening, finishing it off on Saturday morning. Here are a few thoughts.

The only other books which I read by Lewis were "Mere Christianity" and a few chapters of his Screwtape letters, where the bookmark still lies half way through the unfinished book. Maybe that tells you something about the latter, or something about me. 

CS Lewis was not an Evangelical Christian. David Cloud characteristically digs the dirt on Lewis here, drawing partly from an article about him in Christianity Today which effectively does the same thing, even if only with less conviction. 

To be positive, CS Lewis (who taught at Oxford) is a powerful writer. He has a way with words that engages you and even, at times, leaves you filled with admiration. All is good, but only as far as it goes. It makes his books a joy to read - see above for my diminished list of books I have actually read - but the experienced reader knows that this is not enough.  To keep myself right, I certainly would not recommend the reading of CS Lewis' books to any one, but articles like this can still draw out the enjoyable parts and share them. If you feel you should read Lewis for more, then go ahead. (It is still a free country.) But do read with care, and remember that the shortcomings are not easily dismissed.  

In the first 14 chapters of Surprised by Joy, Lewis tells us how he came to embrace atheism and then reason himself out of it and into Theism. He commences chapter 15 with the words: "It must be understood that the conversion recorded in the last chapter was only to Theism , pure and simple, not to Christianity."  He had found atheistic books generally entertaining but shallow and came slowly to see how philosophy demanded the existence of a Deity. He uses some powerful word pictures to describe the journey. Near the end of his atheism, he makes powerful allusion to the "Great Angler" who he said "played his fish and I never thought the hook was in my tongue." (p.163) I assume that the Great Angler was God Himself. He uses the countryside allusion once more when, again near the end of his atheism, he likened himself to a fox being chased by hounds. The moment of the kill was surely near because the fox was out of "Hegelian Wood" (Hegel being the atheistic philosopher) and "was now running in the open" with the "hounds barely a field behind." (p175) More powerful imagery changes the metaphor to a chess game where, as he surveyed his atheistic reasons for not believing in a Supreme Deity, he observed: "All over the board my pieces were in the most disadvantageous positions. Soon I could no longer cherish even the allusion that the initiative lay with me. My Adversary began to make His final moves." (p168) (He calls the chapter describing his limited conversion "Checkmate"

What tends to be worrying is that he describes his limited conversion as a response to the "absolute  leap in the dark" that was "demanded." Certainly no recognition here of the word of God shining its light etc (Psalm 119:105/130) That said, he does talk about his struggle with the Almighty. He had been using, in his last days of atheistic struggle, language that avoided giving the impression that he was now starting to believe in God's existence. He spoke about the "Spirit" (which, I suppose, could mean whatever you want it to be mean) and any actual references to God were qualified with the snide "the God of popular religion." However, God wasn't having it. I must admit I like the way that Lewis puts it: "My Adversary waived the point. It sank into utter unimportance. he would not argue about it. he only said, 'I am the Lord'; 'i am that I am'; I am.'"(P177) His actual (limited) conversion is described in these words: 

"You must picture me alone in that room in Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted, even for a second from my work, the steady unrelenting approach of him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity term of 1929 I gave in and admitted that God was God and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England." 

After this conversion to Theism, Lewis toyed with what God/god he was going to believe in.  This is hardly the language of one who has been convicted and led into truth by the power of the Holy Spirit. He tells us that he was left with a virtual choice between Hinduism and Christianity and opted for Christianity. But, as we have referred to already, a Christianity that was sadly very defective with a chronic denial of the inspiration of Scripture and even the penal atonement of Christ. 

So that's that. Who knows, but I might restart or reread the Screwtape Letters again and see some flashes of literary genius there with some spiritual lessons? 


Saturday, 27 August 2016

#WhatThinkYe? Audioboo

I have been on audioboom for quite a while under my weecalvin (Now defunct) identity. This was before I got hacked on Twitter and had to change my Twitter name to @weecalvin1509, but I saw no need to update the original name on audioboom. I wrote a whole spiel about the 3 minute limit that existed (if I remember right at that time) for those of us who choose not to pay for their services.  This suited me down to the ground. for reasons stated.

I didn't keep up the weecalvin audiboom exercises. I effectively stopped recording for two main reasons:

(1) Some of the 3 minute recordings didn't actually record. Or at least, they won't play back on my computer while some others do. This was very discouraging. All that time and effort for nothing. If you press on some of the programmes listed, you will find - or at least I did - that they just sit there mute. This is particularly annoying because I had developed the tendency to do a series of messages on one subject and a missing message upset the whole flow of thought.

(2) It takes quite a bit of effort to write a script for a 3 minute podcast and then record it to a satisfactory standard. I just don't have the time to spare. 

However, I found some recent inspiration from my old Twitter friend and blogger, Pastor Ryan Hayden of Mattoon Bible Baptist Church in IL who is a bit of a techy. He does an excellent podcast called A Minute With Jesus which I enjoy very much. (I notice that he claims in his blog to have "restarted" it - maybe all podcasters get waylaid from time to time?) As indicated, it only lasts about 60 seconds, which is a lot less work (more than a third, BTW) than the 3 minute stuff. So, I have started another  audioboom podcast. I had to fish around for a title before deciding to call it "What Think Ye?" My introductory broadcast dealing with the reason behind the title is here.

My once broad Belfast accent has modified over the years, but hasn't gone away. Many people over the world adore the Belfast accent. The rest of us positively cringe, but that's another story :o) Like Ryan's efforts, each podcast is about 1 minute long.  I write the script out by hand - as I still do in my regular Lord's Day sermons - and in my  semi legible scrawl, a minute's reflections takes about 11 lines on a jotter page. After a while, I will get a #WhatThinkYe? index up and running on this blog, but it is early days yet. I hope to regularly podcast as time permits. I invite you to join with me.



Thursday, 25 August 2016


Bridlington Free Presbyterian Church, St John's Road.
 OK. It has been a while since I blogged. Apart from the fact that I don't blog as much as I used to anyway, I am just back from a great family holiday in Bridlington. "Brid" (as the locals fondly call it) is a seaside town on the east Yorkshire coast and home to one of our congregations in the Free Presbyterian Church. Numerically, it is not a large church, but very faithful people and it fell my lot (with a little bit of help on my side) to preach there for two Lord's Days (14th and 21st August) and two prayer meetings. We were joined on both Lord's Day by some visitors, including the McMullan family who were over on CEF business. Thursday morning is the outreach coffee morning in the church which is situated very strategically at a major T junction in an approach road to the city centre. The congregation has been pastorless since their previous minister, Rev. Dessie McComb, retired and so are dependent on relief preachers to supply the pulpit. Talking of pulpits, John Wesley preached in the pulpit here, although it was situated in another church at the time and obviously in another era. The present church was built around 1905 and carries the name of "Mount Zion" which is still incorporated into the congregational name. 

Castle Howard
We did the usually holiday things in glorious weather, including (among other things) two great day trips to York and took in the famous Minster, an hour long boat trip up the River Ouse, the Pickering to Whitby railway (out on one of the old diesel trains and back home on a puffer train), a visit to Eden Camp which housed German and Italian POWs in World War II, and a lovely visit to Castle Howard, best known for its use in the TV series Brideshead Revisited. All this costs a lot of money, but there is a 3 day York (and beyond) pass which works out tremendous value if you pick the right places to visit. It cost us £135 for 2 adults and 1 child, but when we totted up the admission prices and the food discounts, then we would have spent a total of £233, so you can see the value there. 

Did all the second hand bookshops but little to purchase when space on the shelves back home is at a premium. I did secure Authentic Christianity (IVP) which is an anthology of John Stott's works along with John Knox and the Reformation (Banner of Truth) by Martin Lloyd Jones and Iain Murray. I had taken a couple of books over with me and got time each evening to read JC Ryle - Prepared to stand alone (BOT) again by Iain Murray and The Legacy of Sovereign Joy (IVP) by John Piper. Both Stott and Piper would not be my cup of tea in many things, but the text that they author is pretty good and I just swerve round the odd pothole in the road.

Appleby on the Pennines
The trip home yesterday was glorious back to Cairnryan in Scotland to get the ferry back to Belfast. A total trip each way of 350 miles plus the sea journey. The trip over the Pennines from Scotch Corner to Penrith is breath taking. Even travelling all day didn't water down the holiday feeling any.  

All in all, a good time away, even if "a busman's holiday" and good to be back again and pretty relaxed. I am due to preach this Lord's Day and so on the only read wet day when we confined to the mobile home (graciously provided by a lady in the congeregation) I worked on the Lord's Day morning message. Still off the rest of this week, but will fit in another sermon preparation. 

So that's it for another while. 


Wednesday, 3 August 2016


(Apologies for the irregular font formations in this article. This is a gremlin in the works as I have tried on numerous occasions to fix them. Don't let them prevent you from reading the article and benefitting from it.) 


The  words that adorn mar the beginning of this article are attributed to one John Ryland Senior when William Carey, William Fuller and others of like mind spoke at a Minister's Fraternal meeting about seeking to convert the heathen in India and other places to saving faith in Jesus Christ. I have seen this story disputed (I forget the source at the moment) on the basis that Ryland never referred to it at all. Laurence Vance used the word "supposedly" in relation to it. I have read of the speech being"perhaps with some embellishment" (Sketches of Church History by SM Houghton, BOT) while Peter Masters from the Metropolitan Tabernacle (Spurgeon's) in a public address indicated that, although basically true, the words are really a paraphrase of what was actually said.

If true (and I am not entertaining any doubts on the matter) then these words display a horrible Hyper Calvinistic spirit, totally inconsistent with true Biblical Calvinism. True, authentic Calvinism believes that when it pleases God to convert the heathen, not only will He raise up missionaries to go forth an reach them with the gospel, but that He has already displayed that pleasure and has already been raising up missionaries to fulfill His divine will and will continue so to do until the end of the age. John Calvin himself was a strong believer in the conversion of the heathen through gospel preaching. He wrote: 

 "It is no small consolation to godly teachers that, although the larger part of the world does not listen to Christ, He has His sheep whom He knows and by whom He is also known. They must do their utmost to bring the whole world into Christ's fold, but when they do not succeed as they would wish, they must be satisfied with the single thought that those who are sheep will be collected together by their work." (Comment on John 10:27)

Understandably - but only to a certain point - Ryland's words have been greedily seized upon by those who oppose Calvinism and who argue that it destroys the burden of evangelism and the need of world missions etc., However the story of William Carey is much bigger than one quote, paraphrased or otherwise, by  John Ryland Senior. If we are going to examine the role of the Calvinists in this incident, then please consider the following facts and then decide whether John Ryland Senior should be allowed to be the representative Calvinist as our opponents make him out to be. There is a certain shallowness and indeed injustice that seizes upon an individual quote and tries to effectively father it, or the thinking that lie behind it, on a whole school of thought.

* William Carey himself was a Five Point Calvinist. This important point is usually overlooked by those who repeat this incident to discredit Calvinism. David Cloud never bothers telling it. Laurence Vance, mentioned above, did so, but doggedly, and in my opinion very foolishly, fought on maintaining that Carey was an inconsistent Calvinist. I do not know what Dave Hunt wrote on the matter and I will hold my counsel until I gain more information.

* Carey's missionary friends were likewise Five Point Calvinists. Andrew Fuller was perhaps the best known among them - see below.

* The interest of Carey and his friends in missionary work was stirred, at least in part, by a book written by Jonathan Edwards of Northhampton, New England. Jonathan Edwards was another Five Point Calvinist and one of America's greatest soul winners, witnessing real, true revival in his church. Edward's book was entitled: "A humble attempt to promote explicit agreement and visible union of God's people in extraordinary prayer for the revival of religion and the advancement of Christ's Kingdom on earth." There could hardly be a more practical outcome to this book than having men of Carey's zeal and calibre offering themselves for missionary service with the subsequent results.

* William Carey tells us that he drew inspiration from the soulwinning zeal of an earlier Calvinist missionary, David Brainerd. I quote:"I was much humbled today by reading Brainerd. Oh, what a disparity between me and him! He is alway constant, I am as inconstant as the wind! (Diary for April 19th, 1794) 

* Twelve ministers from Ryland's denomination formed the "Particular (Calvinistic) Baptist (Missionary) Society, sacrificially contributing the initial sum of £13 2s. 6dwhich was all they could afford. These men were all Five Point Calvinists. This society is still operating today.

* Five Point Calvinist, William Carey, one of the above twelve, had already published a small pamphlet urging Christians to use all the means at their disposal in missionary effort. This booklet was entitled: "An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens in which the Religious State of the Different Nations of the World, the Success of Former Undertakings, and the Practicability of Further Undertakings, are Considered." The title is immediately followed by Paul's inspired missionary argument drawn from Romans 10: 10-15. 

* Five Point Calvinist Andrew Fuller published his book called "Gospel Worthy of all Exception." The Hyper Calvinists totally loathed it, but it was well received by those Calvinists of Calvin's own stamp. Later CH Spurgeon (another Five Point Calvinist) would refer to this book as a "classic of our faith" and mention it in the same breath as "Hodge's Outlines" and "Owen on the Spirit". Spurgeon also considered Fuller to be "the greatest theologian of his century" 
(cited Laws, Andrew Fuller, 127) and felt "so honoured" in the fact that he had been branded as a "Fullerite" (MTP: 12:68)  In the foreword of his book on the "Sovereignty of God" AW Pink referred to Fuller's name as "eminent and honored."

In all my reading of books on Calvinism or by Calvinist writers, I have never seen anyCalvinist since defend John Ryland Senior's remarks. We have all been so quick to put as much ground as we can between us on him on this issue.

* The practical refusal of those who oppose Calvinism to hardly acknowledge the existence of Hyper Calvinism (as opposed to real, authentic Calvinism) displays either gross ignorance of the subject or a desire to blacken the names and stands of good men. Phil Johnstone's primer on Hyper Calvinism is a good place to start. 

* Much opposition to Carey and friends came not only from the Hyper Calvinists but also from the Socinians whose presence and influence riddled many of the mainline denominations. However, all true Calvinists (and others) supported these men in their endeavours.

* It would be interesting to see a list of those who supported or encouraged these Five Point Calvinists in their soul winning work. We know that the Missionary Society in that hotbed of Five Point Calvinism in Princeton University wrote to encourage William Carey in 1821. John Calhoun in his History of Princeton records that the Princeton students wrote, "The different names by which we are known in the Christian church, and the different views we take of points not essential, will not be suffered to affect our feelings towards you, or to damp our joy at your success." 

* Why is it that those who are so opposed to the Doctrines of Grace are prepared to ignore the many examples of Calvinistic missionaries in order to highlight this one example of Ryland senior? If the definition of a missionary is one who leaves his homeland to preach the gospel in another, then Calvin himself was a missionary. Furthermore, his church in Geneva sent forth young men as missionaries to Brazil. These young Calvinists perished on the mission field. To say that any Calvinist missionary is the EXCEPTION rather than the rule (David Cloud's strange emphasis) is surely a non starter of an argument. Surely that can be said of missionaries from any doctrinal position? How many members does your denomination have? What percentage of them are on the mission field? Anything less than 50% of the membership being actively involved is the exception rather than the rule.

* We see similar tactics used by the enemies of Calvinism in regards to Spurgeon. Again, David Cloud likes to remind us all that many Hyper Calvinists opposed Spurgeon in his indiscriminate gospel appeals - except Cloud seems to have a phobia about using this term"Hyper Calvinists" and somewhat mischievously brands them as "Calvinists". What he doesn't tell his readers is that many prominent Five Point Calvinists agreed with Spurgeon, including the eminent Presbyterian John Kennedy of Dingwall in the Scottish Highlands (who brought Spurgeon to open his new church building) and many other Scots Presbyterians. ("Dinnae forget Spurgeon" was the cry of one Scots wife to her husband going  into the nearest market town) and other men like the Bonar brothers etc., Spurgeon's sermons saw great circulation, among Calvinists and non Calvinists alike, including the Five Point Calvinists in the Southern Presbyterian Church in the USA. It was only when Spurgeon criticised slavery that the sales fell somewhat in those quarters, but his warm evangelistic Calvinism matched their own and he was popular on that account. Incidentally, the Calvinists of today still love Spurgeon and seek to see his sermons circulated. 

This is a theme I would like to develope as more information becomes available. However, I believe I have done enough here to show that the Calvinists in the situation are best represented by Carey and his friends rather than by one man. 



Monday, 11 July 2016

Book Review EPC

Title of the Book: By honour and dishonour
Author: Ernest C. Brown
Publisher: Evangelical Presbyterian Church
Publisher's address or where the book may be obtained: Evangelical Bookshop, Belfast BT1 6DD
Year of publication: 2016
Number of pages: 543
Hardback or paperback: Hardback
Price: £15.00 plus p/p
ISBN: 978-0-952266-22-8

This book far transcends the record of the denominational history of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Northern Ireland which prompted its production. The EPC is a conservative Protestant and Reformed denomination in a small country where there are no less than 5 different strands of Presbyterianism represented, or 6 if you include the Unitarian Non Subscribers.  The EPC came into existence as a result of the largest Presbyterian denomination (Presbyterian Church in Ireland) overwhelmingly endorsing the heresy and apostasy of Professor Davey in 1926. The charges against Davey were brought by men like Rev, James Hunter and the theological student, WJ Grier who became the founding fathers of the EPC. The book charts extensively the struggles, tensions and progress of this denomination over the last 50 years.

The book will appeal to a wider audience for a number of reasons. Its early chapters give a useful overview of Presbyterianism in Ireland from the Plantation times. This includes the earlier battle for the soul of Irish Presbyterianism when Henry Cooke saw off the Unitarians that had crept in unawares to the pulpits of the church. We then come into the period of revival round the ministry of WP Nicholson which coincided with the almost civil war that greeted the formation of the Northern Ireland state. At this time, WJ Grier was studying in Westminster Theological Seminary under Gresham Machen and much of the extensive correspondence between the two is quoted. On his return to Ulster, WJ Grier became alarmed at the attacks on God’s word being articulated, if somewhat obliquely at times, by Davey. Much detail from the resulting heresy trial is given in this book, both from transcripts of the trial (mostly in the extensive footnotes at the back) and also from a very good doctrinal analysis by modern EPC associates of the issues involved. The book is also of interest because it gives an insight into the common everyday piety of evangelical Christians in general in Northern Ireland in the period covered. These were days when prayer meeting attendance was considered part of the staple diet of professing believers and where letters to the press challenged the erosion of public morality and defilement of the Sabbath Day.

The book itself is well written, well produced in hardback and overall a very enjoyable read.

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Eccles 10v20


Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter. (Ecclesiastes 10:20)

The words/text have given rise to the little phrase which you sometimes hear when the question is asked: How do you know I said this/that? Who told you?
The answer is sometimes given, complete with a little smile: 
A little bird told me!
 Here is the source of that rather secretive reply
Another case of where the Bible has influenced the everyday language of the people
The writer (Solomon) is issuing a word/warning
It was considered treason to curse the King
Whatever your thoughts might be…it were better that you kept them to yourself
The modern idea of freedom/speech and liberty to express contrary opinions were hardly even thought of then
You kept your mouth shut and you kept your head down
There was nowhere safe
Even the bedchamber - that most private of places - could not be considered safe
Many a man has been trapped by his own pillow talk

There is an incident in the life/Elisha where the King/Syria was told that Elisha was able to repeat the very words he spoke/his bedroom

The law/God forbade the cursing of the Ruler - here Solomon goes further and chains the very thoughts
Once an idea is born in the mind…it can grow and will soon escape the lips and the damage is done

The reference to the bird is the very opposite of secrecy.
It is a bird of the air
It can fly where it wants and you are helpless to stop it or plan its flight
The whispered words, designed for absolute secrecy, are soon spread abroad/common knowledge
Listen to the words of another:

It is dangerous to speak, where secrecy is required. The thought is thine own, while you keep it to yourself; but once the cage is opened, and the bird let loose, who knows how far its flight may bear it? You tell it to a single friend. He tells it to another, who mentions it to a chosen few. The cord is loosened; then it is slipped, your bird will no more roost in secrecy. Learn to keep your secret to yourself. It is snug to know that the bird is in the cage, securely fastened. And though it flutter against the bars, desiring its liberty, still keep it close. No harm it will do while there. What mischief it might do if let loose, you know not.

We want to think (today) about this bird/air that carries the conversation
Solomon reminds us: the tongue, though a little member, can do great harm
It doesn't take much…for the bird cannot carry much in its little beak
James said that the tongue, although a little member, can boast great things.: Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth.

But the Christian is not commanded to be dumb
James also spoke of the tongue blessing God.
Surely the little bird that can carry the words/rebellion can just as easily carry the words/loyalty also?
It is on this more positive note that we desire to speak
What communication should the bird/air be carrying from our thought life/bed chamber to listening ears/others?
4 things


A/ A more glorious subject/conversation cannot be found
Other subjects are glorious
We may speak of great heroics whether on battle field/sports field/personal lives which serve to spur us on to greater heights
Well/good (as far as it goes) but we cannot equal/surpass the glory of the Lord Jesus
The record God gave/His Son  makes all others pale/insignificance

[1] Let’s talk of the glory which He had before the world began
No time/no universe
Three Persons in One Godhead fellowshipping supremely and happily one with another
God /Son one of the Glorious Three
Supremely honoured by the Father
Then the world is created
Angels come on the scene & they worship Him
Man falls and the Son is revealed as Promised Saviour

Although imperfectly…yet He is adored/looked for by the OT Church: Abraham rejoiced/see His day – saw it & was glad (John 8:56)

[2] Let’s talk of His incarnation (Galatians 4:4)
But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,

What condescension!
Weak (Though sinless) human flesh
Born into a manger to poor parents
Flight/Egypt etc.,
Are these not glorious subjects?

[3] Let’s talk of His great ministry
 Healings/Miracles & above all His teachings:
Never man spake like this man (John 7:46)
Is the message/grace not a marvellous thing?

[4] Let’s talk of His atoning death:  As worded by Charles Wesley:

Tis mystery all! The Immortal dies! - Who can explore His strange design?
In vain the first born seraph tries - To sound the depths of Love divine

That He should die at all is a great mystery…
that He should purposely die for His worst/enemies is wonder/wonders

[5] Let’s talk of His resurrection from the dead
His Ascension/Present ministry. His return etc.,

[6] let’s talk  of he message/gospel of full salvation by grave through faith alone: Marvellous beyond any compare

B/ The early Christians  so centred their speech on these things.
 Let's do away with thought that this is fanaticism
Christians: are free to discuss other things e.g. politics/sport etc.,
We are not hermits living on some remote island in the middle/nowhere
We ought to be capable of contributing to every day conversation

But what a man truly loves will soon come to the fore
We all return to favourite subjects
Totally committed politicians will return to the various debates
Economists will discuss the latest figures and forecasts

Christians therefore will speak oft about Christ
We sometimes sing, do we not? 

I sing, for I cannot be silent – His love is the theme of my song

If Christians  are always harping on a worldly thing - then it is evident that Christ is taking second place
We have gone beyond ordinary speech – the politics/sport has taken over
We are betraying the bias of our hearts towards the world

It may be a struggle – but at least, let there be a struggle
Let it not be that we fail to mention Christ from one Sabbath/next

The early Christians  are good examples to us
Key verse: Acts 8:4 gossiping/word.
 These aren't the apostles (8:1) Just the ordinary 5/8ths Xians
So natural to them to spread the gospel
 Evident it was no put on nor was it  superficial
 People detect/hate such
Even if disagree…know when genuine

C/ Speak about the Lord Jesus
Think of the two  on Rd/Emmaus
Much we can criticise - but not this:
The conversation turned immediately to Christ:

And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?  And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: (Luke 24:17-19)

Immediate because it was natural.
They did not make use of the supposed Stranger to relieve themselves of their burden for spiritual things


Such is the thought in our text
Words do not die
Words get recorded/repeated
Words become famous
Words become (like text) proverbial & live for ever

A/ Solomon taught this elsewhere:
Word fitly spoken…apples/gold in pictures/silver.
Again: 15:23 Word spoken/due season…how good is it
Why? Because it lives on - Has a good effect

B/ As Christians  we have begun to make sure the birds fly with message. Employed (successfully) those modern means of mass communication
Printing press/radio/TV/www. etc.,
Good. But there is something better (quality wise) i.e. by word/mouth

Somebody repeating what you said in your enthusiasm as a Christian
 Hard to beat the personal word!
 Puts flesh on doctrine
Personalises impersonal words from a distant land in an distant age
Makes it real

C/  Think of influence you can have
The little bird carries your speech
Into home/friends/work mates/customers/school among teachers/pupils &c,
Even people unsympathetic (context) can carry your speech for you
Do you hear what that nutter outside said…?
God works in mysterious ways

Text again shows that.: twittering bird carrying words
God uses despised means
Sparrow was used by Jesus to denote most common thing

God can work unknown to us
Little bird was unsuspected

D/ It is exciting isn't it!
What power lies in your tongue. But you must use it
If you keep the bird caged…no good can be done
It must be loosed and let go
Don't be a dumb Christian


A/ Which, followed after by our enjoyment, is the chief end of man
If your speech is Christ centred/Christ uplifting…then God will be glorified

B/ Seen (dramatically) when Angels announced Birth/Christ to Shepherds  - What happened?
The Shepherds responded most positively and they themselves repeated what they heard: Luke 2:17-18/20

And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

God was glorified.

C/ God is never more glorified in salvation/lost soul
Angels in Heaven rejoice (Luke 15:7)
Great cry of the Redeemed is the song/Moses & Lamb
In no Christian  testimony…should man ever get the glory
It is all God: none seen but Jesus only



A/ Cannot if for God's glory
In text, speaker brought upon himself more than mere shame
Endangered his liberties/life
Possibly implicated others (listeners)
Affected his family etc.

B/ Speak God glorifying words (e.g. gospel) & although you might be unpopular (in that sense shamed) yet your shame is not shame

Paul was often humiliated by men, yet he could say:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. (2 Timothy 2:12)

If your speech is seasoned with grace/salt…hold your head high
If God commends it & does not condemn it
(Sound speech which cannot be condemned: Titus 2:8)
then what are men's sneers?
Not against you…but against Christ (Acts 9:5)
Words (text) against the King

C/ Word to unsaved…Curse not the King
Do not refuse Christ's offer/salvation
Such refusal effectively says: We will not have this [King] to reign over us
God sees that type of talk simply as rebellion
You are already his by creation and providence
You are happy to take all the benefits but you do not yield your heart
Let me show you a better way:
 Embrace the gospel of free grace  now and you will experience reality/God's wonderful salvation from sin