Summary: Inspired by "Why Churches Die?" this message speaks to the problem of GOSSIP!
* Dr. Ergun Caner is the president and dean of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary in Lynchburg. He is the son of a devote Islamic Leaders and came to faith in Jesus Christ in 1982. Subsequently, he was disowned by his family.
* One of my favorite stories from him tells of when he began his first full-time pastorate. It was a small community church with a parsonage located in a town of 115. Ergun writes that as he walked in on that first Wednesday night, he felt prepared to become effective and lead this church. In the 3 days since they voted on him, he had read all he could find about country living. Living all of his life in urban areas, Ergun had never even had a lawn but now that he had read up on farming and farmers, he THOUGHT he was ready. However, nothing could prepare him (or anyone) for that first night.
* It was a Wednesday evening and the 5 ft marker board (where they wrote down the prayer request) was in place. Generally (so he was told), the service was divided into 2 parts. The 1st part was receiving of prayer requests and praying while the last part was a Bible Study. But tonight would be different. All was going normal with the prayers request until Doreen stood to share her request. Doreen proceeded to share a request for a woman who had a serious condition which required brain surgery. While the preacher wrote on the board and Doreen spoke of this unimaginable report, the entire room became quiet. The worse part of the story was still to be heard. Doreen, an elderly woman, seemed almost broken as she relayed that this woman’s husband waited until just before this major surgery to tell her that he was leaving her for another woman. The new pastor was in shock and even speechless when from the back of the room another elderly lady said, “Doreen, sit down and shut up!” Now, the pastor was horrified and said, “Ma’am, please allow this lady to finish her request. I would ask that we not speak to each other like this.” So Doreen attempted to finished the story when that lady in the back spoke up once again, “Doreen, if you don’t sit down & shut up, I’m going to come up there & punch you in the mouth.”
* Now the new pastor was attempting to determine what kind of church he had come to – where the ladies spoke this way and were about to fight. So, Ergun composed himself and said, “Ma’am I am not going to ask you again to not interrupt a prayer request. This is a sacred place…” Before He could finish his statement, the woman in the back said, “Preacher, that’s my sister! It ain’t no real woman, it ain’t no real husband, it ain’t no real surgery; she’s sharin’ a prayer request from her favorite soap opera she saw today.”
* Sometimes we all let our tongues run wild. We are in a series on “The Local Church; dead, dying, or dynamic” and have thus far, given an examination and spoken 3 weeks ago about Spiritual atrophy, which is a disease brought about by lack of use or activity of appropriate activity.
* Tonight let consider another disease called “Glossitis.” In the medical profession, it appears to be called Glossitis and is; “a serious medical condition that is marked by the swelling of the tongue.” In biblical terms, Dr Caner and Brunson suggest this happens when the tongue is overused and is the most prevalent disease in the body of Christ today. Furthermore, it has the potential to destroy every church body it infects.
* In a moment we will take a look at a number of texts which speak to the severity of this problem, but allow me to offer a couple of personal observations about this particular malady of the modern day church.
* In 35 years behind the pulpit, I am yet to see a church fellowship positive impacted by gossip. Winston Churchill put this in perspective when he said, “A lie can make it around the world before the truth can put on its shoes.” Lies and half-truths told by people inside the church family have wreaked more devastation than 10 bad presidents.
* In all these years, sadly, and for some reasons, God’s people have grown accustomed to it, have accepted it as the norm, and even have attempted to ignore it. Problem is, if you have cancer and simply allow yourself to accept it, get accustomed to it, or ignore it, YOU WILL DIE.
* Once again sadly, a fully-infected gossip doesn’t even realize they are doing it. This person will rationalize a way to talk and believe they are just “sharing” when the truth is, something much worse is happening.