What Silence Says


I.         You can say a lot by not saying anything

            A.        You just spilt your milk and your mother gives you one of those “I told you to keep your glass away from the edge of the table” stares.

                        1.         Not a word has to be said.

                        2.         You know exactly what is being said.

            B.        You pull out your favorite chicken salad recipe. Even though it says nothing about chocolate, you know not to add it in

                        1.         Why?

                        2.         Because the result will not be the same. It won’t be your favorite chicken salad.

                        3.         When a recipe says nothing, we assume it means don’t add.

            C.        One of my favorite comics shows a man standing in a pulpit saying, “The sermon today is on chocolate pie – there’s no text for it, but when a thing’s right, you know it!”

                        1.         It is humorous because it is so wrong!

            D.        When it comes to the Scriptures, you can take God’s silence on a topic one of two ways

                        1.         When the Bible is silent on a matter we are at liberty to do what we think is best

                        2.         When the Bible is silent on a matter we are prohibit to act. We can only do what the Lord has authorized us to do.

II.        Respect for the silence of God’s will is commanded

            A.        I Corinthians 4:6 - Don’t go beyond what is written.

                        1.         What is beyond the written word?

                        2.         It is the territory of what is not said.

            B.        II John 9 - Stay within the bounds of God’s teaching

            C.        I Corinthians 2:9-11 - No one knows the mind of God, but God

                        1.         We cannot presume to know something that God has not revealed.

                        2.         Robert Richardson “The silence of the Bible is to be reverenced equally with its teachings, and that to intrude into things not seen and not revealed, evinces that vanity of a fleshly mind as much as to misinterpret and pervert the express statements of the Scriptures.”

            D.        I Peter 4:11 - If you speak, speak as if it were the very words of God

                        1.         How do you do that?

                        2.         By limiting your speech to what God has said.

III.       If a practice is justified by what God has not said, then you are implying that God did not tell us everything we need to live righteously.

            A.        II Timothy 3:16-17 - The Scriptures contain everything to make a man complete.

            B.        II Peter 1:3 - God has given us everything pertaining to life and godliness.

            C.        If it is not in the scriptures then

                        1.         It is not related to a godly life

                        2.         It is not from God

                        3.         Which then makes it a sin

            D.        We can only make a choice in a matter when God gives us a choice. We cannot claim the right to chose for ourselves.

IV.      Every statement of God carries with it two aspects. It places bounds in which certain things are allowed. It places bounds in which everything else is not allowed.

            A.        Hebrews 10:25

                        1.         The command is assemble.

                        2.         What falls within that command?

                                    a.         Where to assemble

                                                (1)       The early church meet in a rented room - Acts 2

                                                (2)       By a river - Acts 16:13

                                                (3)       In a house - Romans 16:3-4

                                                (4)       These all are allowed within the command to assemble.

                                    b.         When to assemble (though other Scriptures limit us to the first day of the week for some gatherings, we still are not told what time of the day.)

                        3.         What is directly prohibited by this command?

                                    a.         Staying home when an assembly is called.

                        4.         What is not authorized by this scripture?

                                    a.         Chocolate pies

                                    b.         Church sponsored potluck

                                    c.         Perhaps there is other passage that will authorize the action, but the silence of this passage does not give authority.

            B.        Eph. 5:19

                        1.         The command is to sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs

                        2.         What falls within this command?

                                    a.         The psalm, hymn or spiritual songs selected

                                    b.         The number of songs chosen to sing

                                    c.         At what point in our worship do we sing.

                                    d.         How we sing the same song

                                                (1)       We could memorize our songs

                                                (2)       We could chant to verses from our Bibles

                                                (3)       We could write down the words of the songs and say sing to the tune of . . .

                                                (4)       We could write down the words and tune for a song

                                                (5)       We could purchase song books

                                    e.         All these things fall within the bounds of sing.

                        3.         What is directly prohibited by this command?

                                    a.         Not singing

                        4.         What is not authorized by this command?

                                    a.         Singing “Old Susanna” or “My Country, `Tis of Thee”

                                    b.         Using a piano or guitar (neither is a form of singing)

                                    c.         Lemon cake

            C.        Eph 4:11-12

                        1.         The command is to equip the saints for the work of service

                        2.         What falls within this command?

                                    a.         Sermons during the worship

                                    b.         Bible readings

                                    c.         Bible classes

                                                (1)       As groups

                                                (2)       As individuals

                                    d.         Bulletins

                                    e.         We can use visual aids, such as overheads, blackboards, video projection, handouts

                        3.         What is directly prohibited?

                                    a.         Not teaching

                        4.         What is not authorized by this command?

                                    a.         The teaching of non-Christians (that falls under a different command)

                                    b.         The teaching of nuclear physics to Christians

                                    c.         The operation of a grade-school

                                                (1)       Note how some might justify it by say “We’ll include Bible teaching.”

                                                (2)       Only a partial overlap at best.

                                    d.         The church contributing to the operation of a school

                                                (1)       Note: schools teach Christians and non-Christians

                                                (2)       Note: schools teach other topics than what equips saints

                                                (3)       Note: schools sometimes employs non-Christians for instruction in some topics

                                    e.         Iced tea

V.        Brethren, God has not left us without guidance. He has told us what to do. Why then do we wish to wonder the uncharted waters when we too often leave the things we are told to do undone?