Peddling Secrets (Breaking Confidentiality)

Robert Wurtz II

Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered (Proverbs 11:13 ESV).

Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with uses flattery (Proverbs 20:19).

Argue your case with your neighbor himself, and do not reveal another’s secret (Proverbs 25:9 ESV).

Understanding and giving heed to these three verses from Proverbs could save you and I a lot of unnecessary grief and conflict. They have been recorded and transmitted through the ages for our instruction and benefit. Moreover, they are far-reaching in scope and apply to people of all walks of life.

It is likely that everyone has some information about themselves (whether that information is a day old or fifty years old) that they would prefer that it remain secret. Clearly, this is an ancient truth or the scriptures would not have addressed it at least three times in Proverbs alone. We all, to a greater or lesser degree, have secrets.

A simple English definition of a secret is something that is kept or meant to be kept unknown. The Hebrew word translated as secret(s) in Proverbs 11:13, 20:19, and 25:9 is sod and it means confidential speech. This word carries an emphasis on privacy (confidentiality). All three of our passages are dealing with revealing confidences.

When a person is reckless with confidential information or is willing to use it for their own purposes — that person is dangerous and is to be avoided. That is common sense — but Proverbs gives us some insights into the unfaithful people who peddle secrets.
One of those types is people who flatter you (Proverbs 20:19). The Hebrew word carries the idea of deceiving a simple-minded person. Flattery is used by so-called charming personalities to win people over to them or their cause. Understand that a smooth-talker can gain a person’s trust and thereby draw secrets from them under the guise of being a trusted confidant. A man who flatters his neighbor Spreads a net for his feet. (Proverbs 29:5 NKJV) Beware of people who flatter you — do not tell them anything confidential. Flatterers are commonly tale-bearers.

Sowing Discord with Secrets

There are ungodly people in the world who carry secrets from person to person — sowing strife and division among neighbors and relations. They tell confidential information that people have entrusted them with. How did they get the confidential information? By feigning to be the distressed person’s confidant. People trust that he/she is trustworthy in spirit and will keep the thing covered — but they are not trustworthy and they will not keep it covered. They will use the confidential information whenever they wish.

Peddlers of secrets know when people are vulnerable (distressed, upset, angry, in conflict with a friend of family member, etc.) and thereby know also that the person may (colloquially speaking) spill their guts. That is an informal way of saying that they unwisely tell all of their secrets. This is why we all need to be very careful who we reveal confidential information to. The ungodly exploit these unfair means to come to the knowledge of secrets. “Come on, you can tell me…” are usually the words of a devil.

I have known of people to throw out confidential information when trying to make a point — without revealing the person’s name. What says the scripture? Argue your case with your neighbor himself, and do not reveal another’s secret (Proverbs 25:9 ESV). We don’t need to break confidence in order to make a point. G.W. North offered sound advice to people who hear things in confidence, “Forget a minute after you hear it.” That way you won’t ever be tempted to use the information and break confidence.

If we are ever in a conversation with a person who says, “I could tell you some things about that person and you would _______” — we need to leave the conversation immediately. Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered (Proverbs 11:13 ESV). If a person tells you secrets about others they will surely tell others secrets about you.

Some day God is going to sort all these things out. Yet I sometimes wonder, “What could be eviler than to use confidential information against the person who entrusted you with it? What kind of person (other than a politician) goes around collecting confidential information to use against people?” Maybe this ought to be a new definition of a dirt merchant… a person who peddles peoples’ dirt.

Undermining the Ministry

Robert Wurtz II

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. (Philippians 2:1–2 ESV)

Every week Christians gather together in local assemblies that we commonly call churches. Many of these churches suffer setback after setback until the saints get discouraged and sometimes leave. A setback can be defined as a check or reversal of progress. When people leave a church because it seems to be dealing with frequent setbacks — there needs to be a time of prayerful reflection to ascertain what the problem is. As the Lord Jesus told the churches in Revelation, “He who has ears to hear let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

In Philippians 2:1-2, Paul brings several things to our attention. He speaks of encouragement, love that comforts, the operation of the Spirit, affection, sympathy, and unity.   Any carnal action or behavior that compromises the loving unity of a church also undermines the effectiveness of that church. Carnal church attendees are people who are behaving contrary to the person of Christ and the purpose of the churches. They are prone to cliques, electioneering (politics), ambition, covetousness, nepotism, abusiveness (real or passive/aggressive), and gossip. If these people are allowed to continue — the ministry is at risk and the church is at risk.

The Necessity of Love

Jesus said, “If you love Me… keep my commandments.” In modern times political correctness has often supplanted the biblical concept of first love. God’s love is not a “go along and get along” attitude. The love of God is in full agreement with God’s word. True love is love that hates sin and loves righteousness. It does not feel sympathies for progressive ideologies that conflict with God’s eternal word. We must never unify at the expense of clearly defined teachings of the New Testament. Again, Jesus said, “If you love Me… keep my commandments.”

Consider the church of Ephesus. They left their first love and were in danger of having their lampstand removed. Without love, a church is not qualified to be a church. In a figure, the lampstand has grown dark. What use is a darkened lampstand? It’s just one more thing to trip over in a darkened room. A church without love is a stumbling block to saint and sinner alike. Any person who behaves contrary to love towards the saints or sinners is undermining the church. We simply cannot afford to ignore these people. No matter who they are or what position they hold in the churches, they must be dealt with or the future of that church is in peril.

The Necessity of Unity

Essential to the success of any church is unity among its members. Every week men and women gather together in churches around the world. The people are a mixture of regenerate and unregenerate — spiritual and carnal. The spiritual have their heart focused on glorifying God and edifying the church. The carnal are focused on all kinds of self-serving things — too many to record. The spiritual desire unity — while the carnal are agents of disunity. This is a primary reason why so many churches fail. There are too many people attending and ministering who have not been born of the Spirit.
Understand that the carnal mind is not subject to the laws of God. Carnal people do not understand the things of God; they are foolishness to them. Another way Paul describes a carnal person is one who is “in the flesh.” If the Spirit of God dwells truly in a person (and not by logical deductions and proof texts) the person is not in the flesh but in the Spirit (Romans 8:9). You know the tree by its fruit. Any person who does not yield the fruit of the Spirit is a potential hazard to the church and needs to repent and receive the Holy Spirit. That’s the simplicity of it. Arguing about it will only prolong the problem and perpetuate the danger. Many churches would be well served to drop all their programs and find out how to preach so as to see their members born from above and stop this dangerous mixture of spiritual and carnal.
Only a church with spiritual people can come into unity. Can two walk together that are not in agreement? Can the unregenerate be yoked with the regenerate? The obvious answer is, no. Psalm 133:1-3 demonstrates the importance of unity by likening it to the anointing oil that flowed off of Aaron’s beard and to the dew of Hermon. The anointing oil is what qualified Aaron to be the High Priest. He was the “anointed priest.” Without it he was not qualified to be priest — and without unity, we are not qualified to be priests. The dew of Hermon is said to have watered the farmers’ fields — enabling fruitfulness. No unity means no water. Could a lack of unity be the reason why so many churches are fruitless?

Paul was utterly concerned for the loving unity of the churches. He writes, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. This means laying aside petty differences and personal ambitions. It means getting in step with God’s order (1 Cor. 11:3). No compromise of God’s word, no matter how well argued, is without consequences. Many people (especially millennials and younger) are beginning to question their beliefs and are studying topics in depth. They are not content with the compromises of the past and they are leaving to find churches that are obeying and teaching God’s word.

A cognate passage to Philippians 2:1-2 is Ephesians 4:1-3, “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Notice the key to unity… an eagerness to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Coming into agreement with one another first requires that we be in unity with the Holy Spirit. And the Spirit and the word agree. Second, an attitude of peace among ourselves that binds us together in love.

The Manifesting Power of an Age of Antichrist

The Manifesting Power of an Age of Antichrist
Robert Wurtz II
Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us (1 John 2:18–19 NKJV).
It is only right in the sight of God that people who are not genuinely His, but number themselves with those who are, will eventually be exposed as frauds. John says, “… they went out that they might be made manifest” or we would say revealed. Rather than being a child of God and sibling of Christ — they are at last revealed to be of the spirit of antichrist. That is not to say The Antichrist, but antichrist in their disposition and doctrine. They serve and represent a substitute Christ — an invention of their own lusts. Their life is an expression of the carnal mind; a mind that agrees with the spirit of antichrist.
If there has ever been a time when false professors of Christ will be revealed, it is this time. Moral declension has permeated Western Society to the point that many professed believers have confused the love of God with political correctness. Christ is being cast into an idol that reflects and accepts the sin of modern times rather than loving righteousness and hating lawlessness. Multitudes are worshipping this “Jesus idol” as it is more agreeable to their own compromised notions of what Christ ought to be like.
Anytime Christ is being reimagined or reinvented the result will always be an idol; the serving of it idolatry; and the fabricators of it idolators. This is one of the ways the spirit of antichrist is manifesting itself in modern times. It is gathering to itself a host of people who worship a false rendition of Christ — in the name of worshipping the true Christ. Yet we have this clear warning from John for all ages, “Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour.”
The thing that is exposing the people who John said “are not of us” is this “anything goes” Christianity that is gaining in popularity. It is so appealing to the carnal mind that false professors cannot help but go along with it. What happens? An inordinate emphasis on the love of God is proportional to the desire of false professors to justify or cover their sinful lifestyles. This is why we have such an exaggerated emphasis on the love of God in modern times. It has to be so in order to offset the cognitive dissonance in the hearts of people who want to identify as Christians but also want to keep their sin.
The unrepentant tell themselves that God loves them no matter what. It helps dull the edge of the conviction they feel or the conscience that condemns their behavior. The more they compromise the more they have to emphasize love and grace. Instead of changing to conform to the image of Christ — there is a generation that is changing Christ to conform to their image. It is idolatry. It is a manifestation of the spirit of antichrist in this age.
Yet it was prophesied nearly 2000 years ago, so we shouldn’t be surprised; “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us…” When John penned these words he was dealing with Gnostics that suggested that the body is sinful and therefore it doesn’t matter how much people sin with that body.   They even produced Gnostic writings that sought to distort the truth of New Testament. Why? Generally, it was so they could continue sinning while imagining themselves to be Christians.
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.
Not everyone who names the name of Christ is a true child of God. The circumstances of life will generally reveal whether a person is of God or not. How do they feel about sin? Much is said about love, but do these professors love righteousness? Do they hate lawlessness? Or are they friends of lawlessness and at heart hate righteousness? Listen to their words. Ponder the things they write on social media. Our modern age offers all people an opportunity to express their true inward condition. Satan is greasing the slide. He is making it easy to “come out” and manifest an antichrist position on a host of topics. If it is there — it will eventually be revealed that none of them were of us.

Jesus Defines Repentance

Jesus Defines Repentance

Robert Wurtz II

The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here. (Luke 11:32 NKJV)

There is a generation that heaps to itself teachers who tickle the ears saying, “Repentance does not mean ‘turn from sin’ it merely means ‘change your mind.'” In fact, Greek scholars debate among themselves as to the full extent of the word mετανοεῖτε (repent) and as time goes on the definitions become more self-serving. Yet, perhaps we can spare ourselves the debate and simply focus on how our Lord used the word in a well-known sentence. He stated, The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. (Matthew 12:41) Our cognate passage is cited above as Luke 11:32. Jesus described the behavior of the Ninevites as having repented (metenohsan) at the preaching of Jonah.

Our Lord said that Nineveh repented. Clearly, He did not mean to say that they felt sorry for their sins or some other modern definition of repentance. To thoroughly understand our Lord’s concept of repentance (the only person whose definition matters) we must go back and study the book of Jonah. To understand what our response to the advent of Christ ought to be we must contrast the greatness of the man Jonah with the Son of God. If the Pagan Ninevites repented at the preaching of Jonah, what ought our reaction to be to the preaching of Jesus Christ? That is the import of what is being said.

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When Pagans Teach Repentance By Example

Nineveh was one of two capital cities of the Assyrian Empire. They were brutal people beyond comprehension. In fact, the savagery employed by ISIS is a mere taste of the Assyrians atrocities. They celebrated their blood-thirstiness in murals painted on the palace walls. They were hated by their enemies with pure hatred. They had no Bible; no Sunday Schools; no churches; and no religious rituals that honored the One True God. In the words of God… they didn’t know their right hand from their left (Jonah 4:11). Yet they had sense enough to repent at the preaching of Jonah.

Time was running out for the Assyrians of Nineveh, but God still held out hope. He sent Jonah to preach to them… but his hatred was so great that He disobeyed God. He fled on a ship from the face of God rather than preach repentance to the people. God wouldn’t have it. He sent a storm that smote the nerves of all on the ship — until at last, at Jonah’s request, they threw him overboard. God put him through what may have been a death and resurrection to change his mind about preaching to the Assyrians. Three days with no air… he ended up on shore with a new revelation about the sovereignty of God.

Jonah entered the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown (Jonah 3:4). This message offered no hope. There was no compassion in his voice… just a declaration, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. This is instructional. Can you imagine hearing this? Over and over again… Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. The result? So the people of Nineveh believed God. (Jonah 3:5a) This is essential to any persons’ repentance; they have to believe what God is saying. The people of Nineveh believed so as to proclaimed a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. John the Baptist and Paul would have called this fruits worthy of repentance (Acts 26:20).
No “Pointers”

You will notice that they were not given a checklist of things to repent of. They were left to themselves to sort it out. This tells me that God knows that we know what is offending Him. There is no need for ministers to stand in a pulpit — listing off possibilities. People will sometimes pretend that they don’t know what they need to repent of, etc.; but apparently, God is not buying it. Nineveh is the example. They will rise up in the judgment against us if we pretend we didn’t know better. Very sobering. Can you imagine God calling the Ninevites to testify against the unrepentant? Jesus said it will happen.

The King Vacates the Throne

We have another facet to Nineveh’s example when we read, For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. (Jonah 3:6) Have you ever known of a person to do such a thing when they repented? They didn’t put on their “Sunday best” and go to church. They stripped off anything that could have exalted them. This is utter humiliation and sorrow.

Like the king of Nineveh, we have to come off of the throne of our own life and utterly humble ourselves before the true King. This is the key. This is more than outward things, it is an inward change of attitude. What else did they do? Let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. (Jonah 3:9) There is the key component to repentance that is too frequently rejected or ignored… let them turn every one from his evil way. True godly sorrow (sorrow that is God-wards) for sin produces a turning from sin in which the person does not turn back (2 Cor. 7:10).

The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here. (Luke 11:32 NKJV)

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