This is part three of a three part blog series from a sermon I preached at a recent members meeting at Harrisburg Baptist Church.
Romans 1:29–32 (CSB)
29 They are filled with all unrighteousness, evil, greed, and wickedness. They are full of envy, murder, quarrels, deceit, and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, arrogant, proud, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 senseless, untrustworthy, unloving,, and unmerciful. 32 Although they know God’s just sentence—that those who practice such things deserve to die,—they not only do them, but even applaud, others who practice them.
Gossip is “derogatory information about someone that you have that is shared with others in a tone of confidentiality that is not motivated by doing good to them and that you are enjoying in a way that shows your heart is not humble.”
- Gossip is motivated by the harm it inflicts and the pride it puffs up.
- Gossip creates a culture of truth telling that Satan enjoys
- Gossip destroys those who use it and provides an opportunity for the gospel to win.
Gossip eats you from the inside out because it is sin.
Sin is destructive and harmful to the life of a believer. As John Owen said, “An unmortified lust will drink up the spirit and all the vigor of the soul, and weaken it for all duties.” The desire for sin is fleshly and lustful, and when we gratify the flesh instead of putting it death we weaken and hurt our own souls.
Gossip doesn’t overcome the gospel, but it can harm your witness of the gospel.
The sin of gossip will never overcome the gospel. This is true because Christ has overcome all sin! But, when we sin and indulge in gossip we harm our witness, and when habitually justify our sin and refuse to repent it results in the eventual questioning of your belief in the gospel. If you believe the gospel then you believe the truth about sin. And if you believe the gospel and understand the truth and nature of sin then you also desire to live in a manner that is pleasing to the Lord.
Gossip doesn’t undo the church, but it will undo your influence and opportunity for leadership in the church.
Gossip is used to harm others and build yourself up. In the context of the church gossip is typically used to attempt to disparage others and move a personal agenda forward. But, because gossip is sin and the church belongs to the Lord the end result is opposite. Where the people of God are committed to the truth of Christ and strive for faithfulness to the Word those who gossip have no influence. Over the course of time those who gossip become known for their gossip rather than their faithfulness or wisdom.
The gospel is infinitely more powerful than gossip. Gossip has the power to harm and weaken, but the gospel has the power to bring the dead to life. Christ has overcome sin and the grave, and as a result Christ will overcome those who gossip in His church. Everywhere that Satan is at work in the church to hurt and harm the gospel is at work to save and to heal. This truth helps us know how we should respond to gossip when we encounter it.
How do we respond to Gossip?
Philippians 2:3 (CSB)
3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves.
- Be humble
You have sinned before and you will sin again. Don’t view yourself as better than the person who is gossiping. It is likely that you have gossiped before and you should follow the example of Jesus and be humble.
- Love and pray for those who are gossiping
We are commanded to love one another and to pray for those who persecute us. Therefore, as you humble yourself commit to showing the love of Christ to others and pray for them. Gossip reveals the condition of their heart and they need to prayed for and they need to be loved well.
- Follow Matthew 18, don’t gossip back
Jesus gives us direction on how to respond to those who sin against us. Follow His direction and trust the work of the Holy Spirit to lead those who know Jesus to repent of their sin and be restored to the Lord and others.
- Consider others more important than yourselves by talking well of them, talking about Jesus, and telling truths that are worthy of the name of Jesus.