Summary: Freedom of Speech in relation to the teaching of Jesus and the New Testament.
Freedom of Speech
1/25/2015 (all Bible verses from NASB; used by permission)
Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.
A little over 3 weeks ago a weekly magazine, named Charlie Hebdo, in Paris, France, was attacked by Islamic terrorists, who killed 12 people. Later, in a hunt to arrest the terrorists, several more people were also killed, a policewoman, and four victims at a kosher market. The terrorists were also killed.
And since then, the debate over the magazine’s freedom of expression has gone viral in the press and on the internet. Why? because the magazine was attacked because it had published cartoons making fun of Muhammad. They were expressing their freedom of speech or the press. The magazine has made fun of just about everyone. They describe themselves as secular, atheist, far-left wing and antiracist. In recent years, they have focused on Muslim extremists. One issue was renamed from Charlie Hebdo to Charia Hebdo, essentially making fun of the Islamic “Sharia” Law, which they said, oppresses women and causes domestic abuse.
Now, Freedom of speech is something that most Americans take pretty seriously. We feel that freedom of speech is an individual’s right. That all Americans have the right to say what they want.
Now, this is precisely written in the Constitution of the United States, in the 1st Amendment to the Constitution, the part known as the Bill of Rights, which says:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
This is known as the clause establishing freedom of religion, freedom of speech and freedom of the press.
I have a few famous quotes on freedom of speech …
1. George Orwell: “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” (1984, Animal Farm)
2. George Washington: “If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”
3. Voltaire: “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it.”
4. Benjamin Franklin: “Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.”
And here we are today, in church, exercising our freedom of religion, freedom to assemble, and freedom of speech. But since we are in church; a place of worship, an assembly of God; I want to focus on some words about speech that help us to be better Christians, more genuine, more like Christ.
Jesus spoke about “speech” while exercising His freedom of speech.
Matthew 15:11 (NASB)
It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.
Jesus is saying that what you say reveals what is in your heart.
Luke 6:45 (NASB)
The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.
So we can see that Jesus is more concerned with the hearts of people and how your heart is reflected in your words.
The Bible teaches us that by our mouth we can bless or by our mouth we can curse. By our mouth we can bring encouragement and comfort and love, or we can put down, discourage, and create anger. – by our mouth, - by what we say, by our freedom of speech.
The third chapter of James is about how we can choose to use our speech for good things or we can choose to use our speech for bad things.
He talks about how a horse is controlled by putting a bit into his mouth. Those of you who know about horses know that this is true; by putting a bridle on a horse’s head and inserting a bit into his mouth; you gain control over the horse. With a bit you can make the horse go, stop, turn to the left or to the right.
Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well.
So James’ point is that we need to learn to control what we say. That even though we have freedom of speech and can say anything; not all things are good, not all things build up, not all things comfort, not all things contribute to love and hope and encouragement.