Let Your Conversation Be

Posted by on Mar 30, 2008

By Pastor Mike Withem

First Baptist Church of Ranson, WV

March 30, 2008

Sunday Morning

“Let Your Conversation Be”

Scripture Text: Hebrews 13:1-6

Introduction:

 

A.   Although I still believe that the King James Version of the Bible is, by far, the best and most reliable English translation of the Holy Scriptures, it is a fact that some of the words found in the KJV have changed in meaning since the days that it was translated.

1. For example, take the word “conversation.”

2. Today, the word “conversation” refers to one’s speech.

3. In fact, the Mirriam-Webster dictionary defines the word like this: “the oral exchange of sentiments, observations, opinions, or ideas.”

4. In other words, “one’s speech.”

5. That’s the “modern day” definition for the word.

 

B.   However, when the King James Version was translated, the word “conversation” had a very different meaning.

1. In those days, rather than referring to one’s speech, instead it referred to one’s behavior or deportment.

2. Why is it important that we know this?

3. It’s important because the first part of Vrs. 5 of our text reads like this, “Let your conversation be…”

4. Now if we don’t realize that the meaning of the word “conversation” has changed since the KJV was translated, then we are going to think that the writer of Hebrews is talking about the believer’s speech, rather than his conduct or deportment.

5. However, it’s not the believer’s speech that is being discussed here, but rather his conduct or deportment.

 

C.   Now what does this passage teach us about the believer’s behavior? Well, first of all, it teaches us that the believer’s behavior should be characterized by…

 

I.       Compassion.

 

A.   To begin with, we as believers should have compassion for the SAINTS (other believers).

1. Notice again Vrs. 1 of our text, “1 Let brotherly love continue.”

2. The phrase “brotherly love” is translated from just one Greek word, the word “philadelphia,” a word that refers to “fraternal affection or love of the brethren.”

3. It’s amazing how many times in Scripture that we, as believers, are admonished to “love one another.”

4. For example, Jesus said in John 13:34, “34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”

5. Another example is Rom. 13:8, which says, “8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another:”

5. Yet another example is 1 Pet. 1:22, which says, “22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:”

 

B.   Why is it important that we love one another?

1. First of all, loving one another tells the world that we are God’s children.

2.Listen to what Jesus said in John 13:35 ( I quoted Vrs. 34 a moment ago), “35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

3. When we, as believers, show compassion toward each other, and put our brother’s needs above our own, we are preaching a powerful message to the world (we are telling the world that we belong to God).

4. However, when we fail to show compassion toward each other, we are still preaching a powerful message to the world (except that we are telling the world that we do NOT belong to God).

5. Not only does loving one another tell the world that we are God’s children, it also gives us added assurance of the fact that we are saved.

6. Listen to what the Bible says in 1 John 3:13-14, “13 Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. 14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.:”

 

C.   Not only should we have compassion for one another (for our fellow believers), we should also have compassion for STRANGERS.

1. Notice again Vrs. 2 of our text, “2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”

2. The word “entertain” means to “show hospitality.”

3. We have to guard ourselves against having the attitude that if someone is a “stranger,” we have no responsibility to be hospitable.

4. The Bible tells us something very different.

5. The Bible says in Gal. 6:10, “10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”

6. Now it is true that, in our day today, we have to exercise certain precautions when it comes to strangers (there are a lot of dangerous people in this world).

7. However, we must not exclude strangers altogether from our hospitality list.

8. Why not?

9. Because sometimes God will send a stranger into our lives, not so much for what we can do for him, but rather for what he can do for us.

10.   Notice again how Vrs. 2 ends, “2 …for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”

11.   In Gen. 18:1-8, we are told that Abraham had three unexpected visitors.

12.   Rather than sending them away, he took them into his home, washed their feet, and gave them something to eat.

13.   It turns out later that two of these strangers were angels, and the third was the Lord Himself!

14.   (Illus.- Several years ago God brought a stranger into my life by the name of Butch “Rutherford” Sheets. Butch had lived a very rough life [rode with a motorcycle gang], but when I met him he was dying with cancer. Because of the life that he lived, his family had abandoned him and he was all alone. We sort of became Butch’s family until he died. But I will say this, while we did everything we could to help Butch, God also used him to be a blessing to our family.)

 

D.   Not only should we have compassion for one another and for strangers, but we should also have compassion for those who are SUFFERING.

1. Notice again Vrs. 3 of our text, “3 Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.”

2. I believe the writer of Hebrews here is talking about those who are being persecuted for the faith in Christ.

3. (Illus.- I just read a book by Randy Alcorn entitled, “Safely Home.” It is a book about the persecution that is taking place right now in Communist China. And this is just one example. There a many countries in the world where Christians are being abused, imprisoned, and in some cases killed for their faith in Christ.)

4. As their brothers and sisters in Christ, we should do everything within our power to help them.

5. It’s called “compassion.”

 

E.   And so, the believer’s behavior should be characterized by compassion. It should also be characterized by…

 

II.      Chastity.

 

A.   We could also use the word “purity.”

1. A believer’s life should be characterized by “purity.”

2. Notice again Vrs. 4 of our text, “4 Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”

 

B.   Of course, this verse is talking about SEXUAL purity.

1. Again, there are many places in Scripture where we, as believers, are admonished to keep ourselves sexually pure.

2. For example, the Bible says in 1 Cor. 6:18, “18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.”

3. The Bible also says in Eph. 5:3, “3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;”

4. One more example is 1 Thes. 4:3, “3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:”

 

C.   Now this raises a question.

1. How do we keep ourselves sexually pure?

2. It’s really very simple, don’t have sex until you are married (no pre-marital sex), and then once you are married, don’t have sex outside of that marriage relationship (stay true to your spouse).

3. But someone says, “Wait a minute, pastor, that’s so old fashioned!”

4. Well, it may be old fashioned, but it’s still what the Bible teaches (you see, God’s standard for sexual purity has not changed).

5. Notice again the first part of Vrs. 4 of our text, “4 Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled:”

 

D.   Do you need an incentive to keep yourself sexually pure?

1. We find this in our text as well.

2. Notice again the latter part of Vrs. 4, “4 …but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”

3. In other words, there are serious consequences of engaging in sexual immorality.

4. In addition to the fact that we must all stand before God one day, either at the Great White Throne Judgment or the Judgement Seat of Christ, there are also natural consequences.

5. Venereal diseases of all sorts, guilt, psychological disorders, as well as illegitimate children are just a few of the natural consequences of abandoning God’s standards for sexuality.

 

E.   Of course, an even greater incentive to keep ourselves sexually pure is the realization that the lack of chastity will damage our testimony as a believer and make it all but impossible for us to win others to Christ.

 

F.    And so, the believer’s behavior should be characterized by chastity.

1. It should be characterized by COMPASSION.

2. It should be characterized by CHASTITY.

3. Finally, this morning, may I say that it should be characterized by…

 

III.    Contentment.

 

A.   Notice again Vrs. 5-6 of our text, “5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. 6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”

 

B.   (Illus.- The great English preacher, Charles Spurgeon, once said, “I’ve been in a lot of testimony meetings, and I’ve heard a lot of people share how they’ve sinned, and I’ve had people come to me personally and make confession of sin. But in all my life I’ve never had one person confess the sin of covetousness to me.”)

1. Could it be that people don’t realize that covetousness is a sin?

2. They should, because if I am not mistaken, the last of the ten commandments goes something like this, “17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.” (Exo. 20:17)

 

C.   What is covetousness?

1. Covetousness can be defined as not being satisfied with the material possessions that God has given us in this life. (It is the opposite of contentment.)

3. (Illus.- When John D. Rockefeller was a young man, a friend reportedly asked him how much money he wanted. “A million dollars,” he replied. After he had earned a million dollars, the friend asked him again how much money he wanted. The answer this time was, “Another million.”)

4. By the way, you don’t have to be a Rockefeller to be guilty of covetousness.

5. (Illus.- A man once went to his pastor and asked him if he could confess a sin to him. The man was obviously serious and quite broken up, so his pastor agreed to hear his confession. It turned out that the sin the man confessed was the sin of gluttony. Because the man was not at all overweight, his pastor said, “How can you be a glutton and not be overweight?” The man replied, “It’s not that I eat too much but that I want to. I continually crave food. It’s an obsession with me.”)

6. Covetousness is much like this man’s gluttony.

7. You do not have to acquire a lot of things to be covetous, you just have to “want to.”

8. Covetousness is an attitude; it is wanting to acquire things, longing for them, setting our thoughts and our hearts on them – whether we ever possess them or not.

 

D.   But someone says, “Pastor, how do we keep from being covetous? We live in a material world, how do we keep from wanting the things of this world?”

1. The answer is found in our text.

2. We keep from wanting the things of this world by focusing our attention (setting our affections) on the spiritual treasures that God has given to us.

3. For example, we have a God Who has promised to never leave us or forsake us, and to be our Helper in times of need.

4. Notice again the latter part of Vrs. 5 and Vrs. 6 of our text, “5…for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. 6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”

5. Do you realize that most people who are rich in the things of this world (the John Rockefellers and the Bill Gates, etc.) most of these people do not know the Lord and do not have the Lord in their lives.

6. Now let me ask you something, “Would you want to trade places with them? Would you be willing to give up knowing the Lord and having the Lord in your life for any amount of money?”

7. You say, “Of course not!”

8. Then you have absolutely no reason not to be content!

9. When it comes to the things that really matter, you are a rich person!

 

E.   And so, a believer’s behavior should be characterized by contentment.

Conclusion:

 

A.   What have we learned this morning?

1. We’ve learned that a believer’s behavior should be characterized by at least three things…

-COMPASSION,

-CHASTITY,

-CONTENTMENT.

2. How’s your conversation, believer?

3. How’s your behavior?

4. How’s your deportment?

5. Is it characterized by compassion? Do you have compassion for…

-the SAINTS,

-STRANGERS,

-those who are SUFFERING?

6. Is your behavior characterized by chastity (are you sexually pure, this morning)?

7. Is your behavior characterized by contentment (are you content with the material possessions that God has given you in this life)?

8. If you have to answer “no” to these questions, then you have some business that you need to take care of with the Lord this morning.

 

B.   Let me ask you another question, “Do you know absolutely for sure that if you were to die this very moment, that you would go to heaven?”

1. If not, you need to realize that…

-Jesus loves you, in spite of your sin,

-Jesus died on the cross to pay the debt for your sins,

-Jesus will save you if you will trust Him and receive from Him the gift of eternal life.

2. Will you do that this morning???