Wise but HarmlessBro. David Chancellor
7/15/2007 6:00 PM
Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.
Jesus sent them forth as sheep among wolves. He was recognizing the state of society at the time. We face the same battle and enemy now that they faced. We need to be as wise as our adversaries but we don’t want to be hardened like they are. We need to keep the love of the Spirit of God within.
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
We’re up against the wiles of the devil. The devil does play tricks on people. There are wicked spirits out there. The devil does have the ability to bear influence on the lives of men. There will be times when you experience the wiles of the devil through other people. You need to be able to spot what the devil is doing and not let him work on you.
2 Corinthians 2:6-11
Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him. For to this end also did I write that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things. To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ: Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
We don’t want to be ignorant of what the devil does. Paul was trying to help these to deal with a situation without letting the devil win. They needed to show their love for the one that had been corrected. The devil would like to get an advantage. We need to stand for what is right without being hardened by it.
1 Peter 2:21-25
For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps. Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth; Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
We’re called to go through some things for Christ. We need to be harmless. Jesus wasn’t out to hurt or to take advantage of others. We shouldn’t be either. He wasn’t out to deceive or mislead, but he was wise in how he answered. We can be wise in our answers without deceit.
For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf; but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil. And the God of peace shall bring Satan under your feet shortly. The peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
We want to be wise concerning the good. We need to be able to see opportunities for good and take advantage of them. We don’t want to ever get to the place where we can justify or rationalize evil. We don’t want to be able to make sense of evil. Wherever there is opportunity for good, do it.
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life: that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.
Murmurings and disputings get in the way of being harmless. We don’t want to hurt others with our opinions. Murmurings are a way of sowing bitterness and if you sow bitterness, you’re not harmless. Sharing what you understand has its time and place, but just debating and arguing won’t leave you harmless.
And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
We need the love of God there to help us to be without offense as much as possible. We want to increase in knowledge and understanding, and in the fruits of righteousness. We want our lives to bring praise and glory to God. Jesus would send out the disciples with the message of the gospel. When they taught, it brought people to Jesus. We have the same job given to us. We want to be wise and harmless. (Wise does not equal shrewd.)