Greetings MOL Family!
Welcome back to our continuing study on the life of Peter, and the lessons that he eventually learned…
We Don’t Have To Fight
Now, turn over to John 18. We want to understand the words that Jesus said to Peter, when He explained to him why he shouldn’t use the sword. It’s the same thought that we looked at previously, but there is additional wording that we want to get:
Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it? – John 18:11
“Peter, you’re trying to keep me from drinking this cup. You’re trying to keep these soldiers from taking me. But Peter, I want you to know that it’s My Father that has arranged this, and I’m going to take what He says.” Do you see? This is the great reason we don’t need to fight. We don’t have to defend ourselves, and we don’t need to encourage others to take up arms to defend us.
Oh, my friends, what a world of problems would be swept right out of the church today if we’d just learn this lesson. We don’t have to fight others. And if people fight us, we don’t have to fight back. Like Jesus, we can stand and take it. Can’t we? We can, if we learn this lesson that Peter failed to learn at this time – “Put up the sword, Peter.”
And remember, as we consider the end of our study last week – this is not just the sword that’s carried on the belt, but the sword that’s carried here in the mouth. What is it? The tongue, that sharp sword that pierces deeper than any sword of metal – the tongue, the words of criticism and fault-finding.
Sanctified Unto God
Let’s read something that is tremendous in its implication:
Keep the tongue sanctified unto God. – Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Volume 5, pg. 1093
What does ‘sanctified’ mean? Set apart for a holy use.
Keep the tongue sanctified unto God. Cease to dwell upon the shortcomings of others. Refrain from saying anything that might detract from the influence of another, for by indulging in these words of criticism, you blaspheme God’s holy name as verily as you would were you to swear. – Ibid
So you know dear folks, if we would go around and hear people taking God’s name in vain, we would think that was awful, wouldn’t we? It would be too, wouldn’t it? People swearing. Suppose a visitor were to come to your house and go away saying, “Why, you know, I heard swearing every now and then…” We’d feel terrible. We ought to. But now, let’s read this again, remembering that these are inspired Words from the prophet (the Testimony of Jesus):
Keep the tongue sanctified unto God. Refrain from saying anything that might detract from the influence of another, for by indulging in these words of criticism, you blaspheme God’s holy name as verily as you would were you to swear. – Ibid
Well, you say, “I don’t see how that could be.” It’s very simple, friends. Your brothers and sisters bear the family name, and that’s the name of God. When you and I talk about our brothers and sisters who bear the family name, we are bringing reproach on the name of God, the family name, aren’t we? That’s what happens.
That’s what happens when these people who think they’re doing God’s service get out these mimeographed sheets against the General Conference and our leaders. Even if they tell the truth, friends, even if the mistakes they write about the brethren are correct, it’s still bringing reproach upon the name of God, isn’t it? That’s why you and I don’t circulate those things, isn’t it?
Jesus says don’t do it for three reasons. In the first place, if you use that method, sooner or later, it will come back to you. That’s the first thing.
They that take the sword will perish by the sword. – Matthew 26:52
Second: It isn’t necessary. God’s going to handle things. And the third thing is: These things must needs be. Oh you say, “My, but this mustn’t be.”
Well, how do you know? Peter was sure that those soldiers shouldn’t come out there and take Jesus. He was sure that they shouldn’t bind Him and carry Him away to the high priest’s palace. But God was using all that to work out His will.
Of course, it’s true the soldiers were doing the wrong thing, but Peter’s way wasn’t the way to handle it. Jesus’ way was the way to handle it. He took the cup and drank it. This meant salvation to others. Oh, my friends, I want to learn this lesson. What do you say? I want to learn this lesson.
“Ah, but,” somebody says, “I just have to say something.” All right. You know what Jesus said in Matthew 18, if you saw something that needs correcting and you had to do something about it, who were you to talk to? If thy brother sin, do what? Go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone.
Let’s read something very interesting, in Volume 1. Now, this is talking about New York. I suppose it would work in [*your location]. See if you think so:
Now the only way the brethren and sisters in New York can rise is for each to attend to his own individual case, and set his own heart in order. If sin is plain in a brother, breathe it not to another, but with love for the brother’s soul, with a heart full of compassion, with bowels of mercy, tell him the wrong, then leave the matter with him and the Lord. You have discharged your duty. You are not to pass sentence. – Testimonies for the Church, Volume 1, pg. 165
Oh, what a wonderful principle! Then, if I see my brother doing something that I feel sure is a mistake, whether of the head or the heart, I can go to him in love and I can say, “Brother, here is something I have noticed. And I believe if you can see it and put it away, it would be a blessing.” But did you notice what I am not to do?
Breathe it not to another. – Ibid
“Oh, but I have told him, and it doesn’t do any good.” Well, then I can forget this and put this all away, can’t I? What does this say?
Tell him the wrong, then leave the matter with him and the Lord. You have discharged your duty. You are not to pass sentence. – Ibid
Of course, as Jesus makes plain in Matthew 18, if the brother will not hear us, and it’s something that needs further attention, we are to do what? Who do you tell the second time? Oh, no, you don’t tell two or three of them. You take two or three others and tell the brother over again, which is an entirely different thing.
You know dear folks, if we’d do that, we’d see some wonderful reformations. But to follow this counsel is very rare. It’s far more rare than health reform and dress reform. Reform of the tongue is a very rare thing.
Let me illustrate: Some of you have been serving the Lord for many, many years, but I want to ask you – how many have ever, even once in your life, taken one or two others and gone to somebody and told them their faults – trying to help them?
One other question: How many of you have ever had the experience, even once in your life of having a brother or sister come to you and tell you your fault, and then when they didn’t seem to see any results in your life, you’ve had the experience of having them bring one or two others and labor with you over that matter?
Why brothers and sisters, if we were following this counsel, I wouldn’t say this would all be happening every day, but it certainly ought to happen at least once or twice or three times in a lifetime. Don’t you think so? This is the Master’s method of correcting difficulties. And when we turn aside from the Master’s method and use gossip, fault-finding, criticism, telling other people about it, we are taking up the sword that Jesus said to Peter, “You had better put it up.”
Now, there is one place where we can forget all about this. And I’ll tell you where it is. That’s in committee meetings and board meetings. There we can all get out the swords and use them, usually on people that aren’t there. It would hardly do to do it with the people who are there. But with the people that aren’t there, we can just cut and slash all around, can’t we, because it’s a committee meeting?
Ah, brethren, it seems to me I hear the words of the unseen Visitor in the committee meeting and the board meeting, “Peter,” do what? “Put up the sword for all they that take the sword shall perish by the sword.”
Brother, sister, if in committee and board meetings you use your tongue to slash, slash, slash, just be sure some day, some committee or board is going to sit down when you’re not there. More than once in a committee meeting, formal or informal, when I’ve heard somebody discussed and there was opportunity, I’ve said this, “I wonder what they say about us when we’re not here?” Is it a good question? “I wonder what they say about us when we’re not here?”
Oh, brothers and sisters, I pray in Jesus’ name, that we shall let the Holy Spirit talk to our hearts about being non-combatants. You know, anything less would be violating the sixth commandment, “Thou shalt not kill…”
“Oh, but (in some battle, perhaps) he is about to kill me!” Never mind. God has angels that will take care of you, if that’s for His glory. And if not, you’d better die than to make somebody else die. Right? Oh, friends, our heavenly Father is directing traffic. He’s directing the battle. And if we will leave ourselves in His hands, thank God, there are wonderful blessings ahead.
Peter Learned This Lesson
Now turn over to something Peter himself wrote. He learned the lesson, thank God. Turn over to 1 Peter 2:21-23. Oh, I am so glad Peter learned the lesson. And writing by the Holy Spirit, he put it down here, and you can see he’s learned it. This is years later. He’s learned it well.
For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth. – 1 Peter 2:21-22
Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously. – 1 Peter 2:23
What do you say, brethren? Shall we put the sword back in its sheath and leave it there?
Let me say this as my own personal testimony. God’s had to talk to me about this a great many times. I’ve never taken a sword of steel and cut anybody, not even drawn one drop of blood. But oh, I am sorry to say, many a time, God has had to reprove me for taking this little, pink sword up here, the tongue, and smiting somebody. And oh, I praise Him for reproving me.
Is there somebody that has gotten some help on this; even since our lesson last week? Please feel free to share, in praises to God.
Next week, we will study another lesson and the question that Peter had to understand – “What is that to thee?” Invite a friend, and we’ll see you then…
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* This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.