Jeff Bartell

A "bottom line" kind of guy

A man is only as good as his word

Malachi 3:6  For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

Arguably the greatest characteristic about God is that He doesn’t change, or in other words, He doesn’t go back on His word.  When He says something, He means it and He keeps His word.  Theologians call this “immutability.”  All the other wonderful attributes of God:  His holiness, power, love, grace, compassion, foreknowledge, sovereignty, etc. are virtually worthless if He “changes His mind” and behaves in a manner different than what He says!  When He says:  “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” we can count on it!  If He ever changed His mind on that one we would be in big trouble!

In Joshua 9, Joshua was deceived by the Gibeonites.  God told the Israelites to kill all the inhabitants of Canaan.  The Gibeonites lied, they portrayed themselves as a people from a far land, just passing through Canaan, and asked Joshua to make a league with them to not kill them.  Joshua made the deal without consulting God – big mistake (v.14).  The people murmured against Joshua, but ultimately Joshua kept his word, because he gave it. (vv.19-20)

Similarly, as children of God, we too ought to have this same characteristic.  We need to be people of our word.

James 5:12  But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.

Jesus said virtually the same thing in Matthew 5:33-37.  In other words, there should be no reason for a Christian to have to “swear” an oath, like we do in a court of law, because we should be people who always tell the truth.  There should be no need to “promise to tell the truth” this time!  If you say “yea” (yes) you mean it!  Similarly with a “nay” (no).  Your word is your bond.

Now imagine a Christian who understands God’s will and hears God speak (lead) to him to do something specific.  That Christian makes a promise to God that he/she will do it.  Then after a while, the promise is not kept.  We leave the work undone that God asked us to do.  How do you think God feels at that point?

Recently many people have heard the voice of the Lord speak to their hearts here at FBC.  God has been working in many through recent preaching / teaching series including our missions conference.  Many have made commitments to serve the Lord in some new, specific way, or to start giving financially at an increased level.  My prayer is that we all will let our “yea be yea and our nay be nay.”  Whether or not you agree with the commitment, that is a life that you (and others) can respect.

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