Peter 33 - Utterances of God

Utterances of God

The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaint. As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1Peter 4:7-11)

When biblical teaching is done, it must be according to the “utterances of God.” God has given us His “utterances”—His words—the Bible. When teaching others concerning what pleases God, it is obvious that we should use His word as the standard. Men have always seemed to be inclined to mix their own ideas and desires with those of God. One prominent example of a man behaving this way is seen in a king of God’s people—Solomon. He had direct words from God regarding associating with other nations: “the LORD had said to the sons of Israel, ‘You shall not associate with them, nor shall they associate with you’” (1Kings 11:2). God even appeared to Solomon twice and directly commanded him these things (1Kings 11:9-10). Solomon justified his many marriages to foreign women as being expedient. He then thought that it would be expedient to “get along” with those wives: “Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable idol of Moab, on the mountain which is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the detestable idol of the sons of Ammon. Thus also he did for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods” (1Kings 11:7-8). As we would expect, God was angry with Solomon. Sadly, the last history given in the book of Kings regarding Solomon is that God took the kingdom, save one tribe, away from his family for his error (1Kings 11:9-43). “Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and did not follow the LORD fully, as David his father had done” (1Kings 11:6). This also taught others to follow the wrong path. In telling Jeroboam why He was doing these things, God said it was “because they have forsaken Me, and have worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of Moab, and Milcom the god of the sons of Ammon; and they have not walked in My ways, doing what is right in My sight and observing My statutes and My ordinances” (1Kings 11:33). Solomon had gone beyond God’s word—there were no instructions from God to do the things he had done.

It is so easy to teach the wrong thing in what we show and what we say. When writing to warn of false teachers, John emphasized the need to stay with God’s word—to do otherwise is sin. “Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son” (2John 9). When I was young, there was a phrase I heard from a preacher of the gospel and a dear family friend: “Put your finger on the verse!” Let us speak the utterances of God—learn to put our fingers on the verse—study, meditate on God’s word. Just as with Solomon, there are many who teach things for which there is no verse.

Many teach today that people are saved by faith only or at the point of faith. One manual even says that people are saved by faith only, and this is a wholesome doctrine and full of comfort. Where is the scripture that says that? The scriptures say otherwise (James 2:14,17,24). Put your finger on the verse!

Many teach that the sinner, who has never come to Christ, ought to pray for remission of sins. So many teach this, that one would think that many verses would be found teaching that. If you can put your finger on the verse that teaches that, we will be happy to accept it. The verses we find on the subject of the sinner coming to Christ and receiving the remission of sins teach otherwise (Luke 6:46; John 9:31; Acts 2:38; 22:16). Put your finger on the verse!

Others teach that one can be saved without obeying the gospel. A reading of the scriptures shows that the opposite is true (Hebrews 5:8-9; 1Peter 1:22; Acts 2:38-40; 2Thessalonians 1:6-7). Put your finger on the verse!

Others teach that sprinkling or pouring is baptism. Again, we ask for the verse. I can find the verse that shows baptism to be immersion, a burial (Romans 6:3-4; Colossians 2:12). Put your finger on the verse!

Others teach that the scriptures do not tell the church how to preach the gospel or to do her work. Again, we would like the verse which shows any organization in religion other than the local church. We can find verse after verse which shows the local church doing the work the church was to do as well as individuals doing what they are supposed to do (Philippians 4:15; 2Corinthians 11:8-9; Ephesians 4:11-16; Acts 6:1-4). Put your finger on the verse!

Others teach that mechanical music in worship is acceptable, and some teach that it is mandatory. Again, we ask for the verse. We can find the verse which authorizes singing (Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 5:19). Put your finger on the verse!

The list could go one, but Christians must stand ready to put their finger on the verses for everything they teach, believe, and practice. Remember Peter’s admonition: “Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God.”