When the television commercials come into view, all sorts of merchandise are marketed, almost often for $19.99. The marketing spiel extols the virtues of the product and all its features, with videos of people using the product, smiling all the while. At the end of the advertisement, the spokesman for the product says something to the effect that all this can be yours for only $19.99 (or whatever the price may be).
Then there is the kicker – BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! At that point, the spokesman says that if you call within a certain number of minutes, you can receive two of the products for the price of one.
I don’t need to tell you about these commercials, but I did want to say, “BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!” at the conclusion of Friday’s blog about the significance of the words that we use in our daily life.
The speech that we have, the words that we use, the content of our conversation is something that is of supreme importance to our Lord. Not only does Scripture contain guidance about proper speech, “BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!” Jesus is explicit in His teaching about the speech that His followers should have and what it should not be like.
For example, Jesus taught:
“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
“And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;””
So, who were the “hypocrites” who came under such severe description by our Lord?
According to Strong’s concordance, the Greek word used, when Scripture renders the English word “hypocrites”, means an actor, stage player, a dissembler, pretender, or an interpreter.
We use the theater masks illustrating comedy and tragedy to depict that which the actor does. Whatever the part calls for, that is what the actor will present to the audience. He pretends to be that which he is called. It matters not whether the actor believes what he is saying or that his words are consistent with his worldview. The actor presents a false front, a mask, to the audience.
As a profession, the ability to be credible in any kind of role is admirable. But, when it comes to interpersonal relationships, when it comes to your place in society, when it comes to your truthfulness with others, hiding behind a mask is being hypocritical and is condemned by our Lord.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.”
So, what do we as Christians say? We are to be truthful. We all know that one of the Ten Commandments is:
“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.“
That means, don’t lie. Don’t speak an untruth.
James says it this way:
“But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.”
We don’t have to say, “But wait, there’s more”. All we must do is to be truthful, let our “yes” be yes and our “no” be no. Give our testimony of Jesus Christ and His saving atoning work on the cross, His resurrection and His intercession for us before the Father. It is OUR testimony. No one can take it from us. They can mock, they can slander, but they can’t take our own testimony away from us.
Here are The Centurymen singing “Who’ll Be a Witness for My Lord?” from their Silver Anniversary collection. Listen for references to Joshua, Ezekiel, Moses, Jacob and David. The implicit question raised by this song is clear: will your name be added to the list of witnesses for our Lord?
Be honest in all you do and bring glory to your Father in heaven. It’s simple to say, but difficult to do in various circumstances. But, our Lord is with us and His Spirit will guide our mouths so that we don’t sin with our words. May we pray for His help as we daily seek to do His will.
Father, I pray that I would glorify You in my speech and actions as I go throughout the world in the power of Your Spirit. When my words have harmed my witness, I pray for forgiveness. May I not be hypocritical, but may I reflect the love and nature of Your Son as I interact with others and as I live out my testimony each day.