Summary: Jesus teaches us to be careful about our speech because it has a direct bearing on what we do and who we become.
We are looking at the teaching of Jesus as found in Mark 4.
THE JEWISH METHOD OF REPETITION
As we look at the teaching we see that there is some repetition, and this is because Jesus was always repetitious. He said that it is out of the mouth of two or three witnesses that everything is established. We see this throughout scripture. Nearly every significant event is recorded at least twice:
(1) The creation story is repeated in Genesis 1 and 2.
(2) Some of the lives of the patriarchs are found in Genesis and then repeated by the Deacon Stephen in the book of Acts.
(3) Exodus is repeated in Deuteronomy.
(4) Ist and 2nd Samuel and some of Kings is repeated in the books of Chronicles.
(5) Some of the Psalms are repeated.
(6) Much of the gospels repeats the same stories.
(7) Ephesians and Colossians have much the same teaching, as do Galatians and Hebrews, 2nd Peter and Jude.
It is a Hebrew custom to tell the same stories again and again. They will embelish the stories, although they will not lie. With each telling there might be the addition of some incidental thing which initially seems to be irrelevant but when you take another look, you find that it is very important to a more complete understanding of the story. So, when you look at any incident recorded in the Bible you have to ensure that you do not miss something out. There is not anything there which is just to pad the story out. Every word is significant and will show you something good.
Usually, when you find something which is out of the ordinary you will be pleasantly surprised as to how God has shown you an important concept which you needed to see. You don’t even need to be a minister or a bible college student to receive this revelation. Just look at ALL of the words and ask God as to why they are there. Also ask Him why there are slight variations between two narratives concerning the same story.
Mark 4:14. “The sower soweth the word.”
The word is the truth of the Word of God. You cannot achieve much by sowing some other word. Positive confession does not work. Only biblical confession works. Anything else may look like it is doing something important but it is not making any eternal difference.
THE IMPORTANCE OF A GOOD CONFESSION
Remember that confession does not only mean that you are parroting the words from the scriptures. It actually means that it comes out of your mouth naturally or automatically in your general conversation. It is not forced in any way. There are some people who say many scriptures but rarely speak the truth even when they are using them. I remember when a man came to see me for counselling. He really wasn’t too interested with anything I had to say, and I foolishly listened to him ramble on for four hours. Then I began to speak and he shut up. I spoke to him for twenty minutes and he was amazed at how the Lord was using me. Afterwards I asked him a question:
“You spoke to me for four hours, how many scriptures did you quote?”
“Oh, lots.” was his reply.
“I spoke to you for twenty minutes. How many scriptures did I quote?”
“Who spoke the truth?”
Confession of the Word of God must come from the heart. Some of us have learned the scriptures almost to show-off but we do not have them in our heart. They have not become part of us.
Mark 4:15. “And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.”
When you consider confession it is interesting how some of us can do really good when we are in church, but as soon as we get outside we forget the confession we made. The prayers we prayed are cancelled. The words we agreed with in the heat of the meeting we now destroy by our bad words and even worse attitudes.
The devil is most active in church situations. Sometimes we think that he is most productive in the nightclubs and cinemas. However, his strategy in those kinds of places is simple. Set the thing in motion and leave it to unwind itself. In church he has to be more subtle. Sometimes he will offer us the good in place of the best. Other times we justify our sin of gossip or character assassination by such phrases as, “I am telling you this so that you can pray about it.”
All our good ideas and quality decisions in response to the Word of God can count for nothing unless we protect that which we heard and our response to it.