- The Faith of The Canaanite Woman, February 10, 12222
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For let not the mouth only fast, but also the eye, and the ear, and the feet, and the hands, and all the members of our bodies. Let the hands fast, by being pure from rapine and avarice. Let the feet fast, by ceasing from running to the unlawful spectacles. This shows he did not mean only a temporary abstinence from sin, but a discipline to cure us of it for the future. For looking is the food of the eyes, but if this be such as is unlawful or forbidden, it mars the fast; and upsets the whole safety of the soul; but if it be lawful and safe, it adorns fasting. For it would be among things the most absurd to abstain from lawful food because of the fast, but with the eyes to touch even what is forbidden.
Dost thou not eat flesh? Feed not upon lasciviousness by means of the eyes. Let the ear fast also. The fasting of the ear consists in refusing to receive evil speakings and calumnies. Let the mouth too fast from disgraceful speeches and railing. On the strictness of the ancient fasts, consult Bingham, vol. The like is now practiced in the Greek Church. The evil speaker eateth the flesh of his brother, and biteth the body of his neighbour. A fourth reason is, that thou hast disgraced him who is ill reported; and hast thus rendered him more shameless than he was, by placing him in a state of enmity and hostility.
For that Pharisee spake evil of the Publican with truth; but nevertheless this availed him not. For was not the latter, I ask, a publican and a sinner? It is manifest to every one that he was a publican. But at the same time inasmuch as the Pharisee spoke ill of him, he departed from the temple with the loss of every advantage. Dost thou wish to correct a brother? Weep; pray unto God; taking him apart, admonish, counsel, entreat him! Show thy charity towards the sinner. Persuade him that it is from care and anxiety for his welfare, and not from a wish to expose him, that thou puttest him in mind of his sin.
Take hold of his feet; embrace him; be not ashamed, if thou truly desirest to cure him. Thus also do thou. Chrysostom certainly did not regard this as necessary.
The Faith of The Canaanite Woman, February 10, 12222
The original practice was a public confession of crimes. Private confession was at first subservient to this. See Bingham, b. I open my ears, to receive the fragrant oil; but if thou hast any evil to say, I block up the entrance to thy words,—for I am not to admit dung and dirt. What profit doth it afford me to learn that such a one is a bad man? The greatest injury indeed results from this, and the worst loss! What excuse or pardon shall we find; whilst we never even take into consideration our own affairs, but thus inquisitively pry into those of others! But what is yet more ridiculous is, that those who lead this sort of life, and are neglectful of their own affairs, when they have mentioned any of these secret matters, beseech and adjure him who has heard it, not to mention it more to any other person; thus making it plain that they have done an action which deserves censure.
For if thou beseechest him to tell this to no other person, much more did it not become thee to tell these things first to him. The matter was safe while in thy possession; now, after betraying it, thou art grown anxious for its safety. But when thou hast betrayed the custody of the matter to another, thou doest what is superfluous and useless, in charging him, and putting him on oath for the safety of what has been spoken. For he that hath spoken evil is henceforth contentious; he is suspicious and he fears, repents, and gnaws his own tongue. Being timorous and trembling, lest at any time, what he said should be carried to others, and bring great peril, and useless and needless enmity, on the sayer.
But he who keeps the matter to himself, will spend his days in safety, with much pleasantness. What is the meaning of this? And should you perchance, at any time receive an impression from it, bury it, destroy what has been uttered, deliver it over to oblivion; in order that you may become like those who have not heard it; and spend the present life with much peace and security. Should the slanderers learn that we abhor them more than those do whom they accuse, they themselves will henceforth abandon this evil habit, and correct the sin; and will afterwards applaud, and proclaim us as those who were their saviours and benefactors.
For, as to speak well, and to applaud, is the beginning of friendship, so to speak ill and to calumniate, has been the beginning and foundation of enmity, and hatred, and a thousand quarrels.
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For it is well if one who spends all his leisure on the anxious consideration of his own sins, and the judgment of them, can make any progress. Let us flee then, beloved, let us flee slander! For in order that we may be careless of our own state, and may thus render our account heavier, the devil leads us into this custom. But more than this it is not only a very serious matter, that we shall hereafter have to give account of what we have spoken, but that we shall make our own offences the heavier by these means; depriving ourselves of all excuse.
For he who scans with bitterness the conduct of others, can never obtain pardon for the sins committed by himself. For God will determine the sentence, not only from the nature of our transgressions, but from the judgment which thou hast passed upon others. For the sin, of whatever kind, will not there appear any more such as it was when committed, but will receive a great and unpardonable addition from the judgment passed by thee upon thy fellow servants.
For as he who is humane, and merciful, and forgiving, cuts away the greater mass of his sins, so he who is bitter, and cruel, and implacable, greatly increases the magnitude of his own offences. Let us then expel from our mouth all slander, knowing that if we do not abstain from it, though we might feed upon ashes, this austerity would avail us nothing. If any one were to stir up a cesspool, when you were passing, say, would you not reproach and rate the man who did it? This then also do with respect to the slanderer. Therefore let us abstain from evil speaking, from foul language, from blasphemy; and let us not speak ill of our neighbour, nor of God!
For many of our evil speakers have run into such madness, as to lift up their own tongue from their fellow servants against their Master.
But how great an evil this is, you may learn from the affairs in which we are now involved. A man is insulted, and, lo! But God is insulted every day! Why do I say every day? And notwithstanding that this is our first and only offence, we do not on that account expect to gain an excuse, or pardon. But we provoke God every day, and we show no signs of returning to Him, and yet He endures it with all long-suffering!
Seest thou then how great the benignity of the Lord is? See Gibbon, c. But God every day hears of the insults offered Him, and no one heeds it, although God is thus merciful and loving toward man. With Him it suffices only to acknowledge the sin, and so to cancel the accusation. But with man it is altogether the reverse. When those who have sinned confess, then they are punished the more; which indeed has happened in the present instance.
And some have perished by the sword, some by fire; some given to wild beasts, and not men only, but children. See Soz. This might be pleaded as an excuse where demoniacal possession was a commonly acknowledged fact. Sozomen and Theodoret mistake the date. See Pref. But they were sometimes thrown in alive, to be killed by the fall.
The places so called may have differed both in nature and in use. And just as when men beholding from the land those who are shipwrecked, are deeply distressed, but are not able to approach and to rescue the drowning, so too here, the mothers restrained through fear of the soldiers, as it were by so many waves, not only dared not go near to their children, and res cue them from condemnation, but were afraid even to shed tears?
Assuredly ye gather from thence the mercy of God, how unspeakable, how boundless, how transcending all description! But with regard to God nothing of the kind can be said; for the interval between man and God, is so great, as no language can at all express; and throughout every day He is insulted, although present, and seeing and hearing it: and yet He sends not forth the lightning, nor commands the sea to overflow the land, and submerge all men; nor does He bid the earth to cleave asunder and swallow up all the contumelious; but He forbears, and suffers long, and still offers to pardon those who have insulted Him, if they only repent and promise to do these things no more!
How many men have not only cast down, but also trodden under foot the images of God! See on Rom. But if thou sayest that man is not of the same substance as God,—what matters that? For neither was the brazen statue of the same substance as the Emperor; yet nevertheless, they who defied it paid the penalty.
Thus also with regard to mankind, if men are not of the same substance as God, as indeed they are not , still they have been called His image; and it were fitting they should receive honour on account of the appellation. But thou for the sake of a little gold dost trample them under foot, dost throttle them, and drag them away; and hast not to this day in any wise paid the penalty!
May there be then speedily some favourable and propitious change! This certainly I foretell and testify, that although this cloud should pass away, and we yet remain in the same condition of listlessness, we shall again have to suffer much heavier evils than those we are now dreading; for I do not so much fear the wrath of the Emperor, as your own listlessness. For as it is said, that he who is washed, and is again afterwards polluted with the mire, hath gained nothing; so he who has repented for three days, and has again returned to his former state, has accomplished nothing.
Let us not therefore, now act as we have always done hitherto. For many times, when we have been surprised by earthquakes, as well as famine and drought, after becoming more sober and gentle for three or four days, we did but return again to the former course. For this cause our present troubles have happened. But if we have not done so before; yet, now at least let us all persevere in the same piety; let us preserve the same meekness, that we may not again need another stroke.
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Online Sermon Editor Free for pastors and preachers. Premium Series Kits. Add a note optional. Having trouble logging into your account? Try resetting your password. If that doesn't work, please contact our customer service team. Happiness is related to happenings. Happiness is related to happenstance.
Happiness is related to hap, which is a word that basically conveys the idea of chance. But it is related to the delight or the satisfaction that is tied to an occasional happening, a chance circumstance. Joy, to be understood in a biblical sense, must be understood to be related to God. It must be understood to be that which becomes yours in Christ. It must be understood to be a permanent possession of every believer, not some whimsical delight that comes and goes as chance may offer it opportunity.
My favorite definition of joy is this: joy is the flag that flies on the castle of the heart when the King is in residence there. Joy is the flag that flies on the castle of the heart when the King is in residence there. And I believe that only Christians know true and lasting joy. If I may, in a few moments I would like to give you a theology of joy. First of all, joy comes from God. It is a gift of God. Joy is a gift from God to those who believe the gospel.
Joy is a gift from God to those who believe the gospel, who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. So joy is a gift from God to those who believe the gospel. Let me add another part to that sentence. Joy is a gift from God to those who believe the gospel being produced in them by the Holy Spirit — being produced in them by the Holy Spirit. The resident Spirit brings to the heart righteousness, peace, and joy. Let me add a further element to our sentence. True joy is a gift from God that comes to those who believe the gospel, being produced in them by the Holy Spirit as the believer receives and obeys the Word — as the believer receives and obeys the Word.
So the true joy that the believer knows is a gift from God to those who believe, being produced in them by the Holy Spirit as they receive and obey the Word. Let me add another thought. True joy is a gift from God to those who believe the gospel, being produced in them by the Holy Spirit as they believe and receive the Word, or receive and apply it, and it is mixed with trials — being mixed with trials.
A very important element, very important; you will never experience the reality of true joy unless it is made very clear by contrast to trials. It is, in a very real sense, known only by its contrast — sadness, sorrow, difficulty. True joy is a gift from God to those who believe the gospel, being produced in them by the Holy Spirit as they receive and obey the Scripture, being mixed with various trials. And one final thought in our little theology. True joy is a gift from God to those who believe the gospel, being produced in them by the Holy Spirit as they receive and obey the Word, mixed with trials, and set their hope on future glory — and set their hope on future glory.
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It is a gift from God to those who believe the gospel, being produced in them by the Holy Spirit as they receive and obey the Scripture, being mixed with trails, and set their hope and their heart on future glory. But you rejoice with joy inexpressible because your joy is a gift from God being produced by the Spirit as you respond to the Word, mixed with trials, and set your affection on future glory. It is the epistle of joy. Paul is writing it to the Philippians.
He loves the Philippians and they love him. They will be sad because of his circumstances. They will be sad because of his deprivation. They will be sad because of the portent of the loss of his life. But I would like to give you some background that I think will make this beautiful epistle so real to you. Three things to notice in the first two verses: the servants, the saints, and the salutation. The servants and the saints are in verse 1, the salutation in verse 2.
We all know Paul. We all know Timothy. We all understand what it is to be a bond servant of Christ Jesus. But let me just touch lightly on the servants. Perhaps the most concise description of Paul anywhere is given right in this letter. If you look at chapter 3 for a moment, I draw your attention to verse 4. Now, those are some credentials. He had jumped through all of the hoops in Judaism — circumcised the eighth day, belonging to the nation of Israel, from the tribe of Benjamin, among the Hebrews esteemed to be a true Hebrew, a noble Hebrew, an exemplary Hebrew.
As regards the law, he took that tack which was most zealous for the law and became a Pharisee. They found him a man who lived according to the law, a man of tremendous integrity religiously, in his own system. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus, my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ.
He was a Jew. He was a zealous Jew. He was a legalistic Jew. He was a Pharisee. He kept the law as any man could keep the law. He was blameless among his peers. And then he spent the rest of his life proclaiming that. What about Timothy? He became a real son to Paul. Timothy was his dear companion, the one to whom he would really give the legacy of future ministry when he left this world. We know Timothy.
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By the way, those two letters we have just studied were written only a couple of years after Philippians. First Timothy was written after his release, and 2 Timothy was written during his second and last imprisonment, just a few years after this. But again, if we want just a brief introduction of Timothy, we find a very wonderful one in this very epistle, chapter 2, verse Here Paul introduces us to Timothy in a concise way.
We find out really all we need to know about him. His heart beats with my heart. His blood flows with my blood. And that is because obviously he was there when the church in Philippi was begun. He was there. He was on that second missionary journey. And he had made a couple of other visits back. And there was a bond between himself and them as well.
And I trust in the Lord that I myself also shall be coming shortly. Did Timothy co-author Philippians? The implication here is not Paul and Timothy as writers, but Paul and Timothy as bondservants in Christ Jesus, who are together while Paul is writing. Paul is the author, Timothy is the companion. Is it important that he add the name of Timothy?
One: Timothy was well known to the Philippians, and well beloved by the Philippians. So the Philippian Christians knew Timothy from the very, very beginning. Furthermore, since Paul was going to send Timothy, and wanted Timothy to receive the best reception, he includes Timothy as a true co-worker by including him in the opening greeting. He is a true co-worker of the apostle. And thirdly, it is very possible as well that Timothy is the secretary to whom Paul dictated Philippians. We know that Paul dictated his letters.
Oh, there were occasions when he wrote, but many of the letters we know were dictated. Verse 1 of Romans, chapter 1, says Paul was the author. Tertius was the secretary, the amanuensis, who wrote it down. So it was customary for Paul to dictate; it may well have been that Timothy was the secretary.
He was his companion. He wanted them in Philippi to know he was esteemed as a co-worker so that when he came they would accept him as such — and surely they would, because of the love bond that already existed, but this just reinforces that. And perhaps he was the one who wrote down what Paul dictated. And now he is available to Paul.
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Paul is a prisoner. He is in prison. He mentions it four times in chapter 1. Timothy is not a prisoner, as far as we know.
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But Timothy is able to come and see Paul, work alongside and help Paul. The nature of his imprisonment allowed him that privilege. So the writers of Scripture love to call themselves bond slaves of Christ. The term doulos conveys the idea of ownership, possession, allegiance, dependence, subjection, loyalty; all that we think a bond slave would convey. It emphasizes, however, something you might not grasp, and that is willing service. Can you grab that thought? Willing service. A bond slave was a slave bonded to the individual.
And it was often the case that that bonding was out of affection and love and a sense of esteem, not some kind of abject fear. For example, do you remember in Exodus, chapter 21, verse 5 that the law of God provided for a slave who wanted to permanently bond himself to his master?
Many of the slaves in the ancient nation of Israel loved their masters deeply and dearly, and as a result, they wanted to serve their master for life. And the piercing of the ear, and the hole in the ear, will be the signal and symbol to all who see him that this man is a slave out of love.
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His service was always to Christ — always to Christ. He was not a bondservant of the church. He was not a bondservant of the leaders of the church. He was not a bondservant of Rome, even though he was a prisoner of Rome. He was a bondservant of Christ Jesus — always connecting his life to Christ. And that is a ministerial perception that is absolutely necessary for anyone who serves the Lord. If you attach yourself to people, they will disappoint you.
If you attach yourself to the church, they will disappoint you in the church. If you attach yourself to the Lord, you will never be disappointed. If you decide to evaluate your ministry on the basis of the opinion of people, you will go astray. On the basis of the opinion or success of the church, you will go astray. But if you choose to evaluate your life and ministry between you and the Lord, you will never go astray, because you will always know where you stand.
Service to Christ is the perfect freedom. But in spite of all of this, he was not the slave of Rome; he was the servant of Jesus Christ. It was Jesus Christ who would meet all his needs.