II. STAGES OF SPIRITUAL DEFILEMENT
A. IGNORANCE: Satan will gain advantage over us if we are ignorant of his devices. Ignorance is not being aware of destructive power of untrue or distorted words. James 3:6 “the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity…it DEFILETH the whole body, and setteth of fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.”; Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power the tongue.”
1. Ignorance of how words destroy friendships. “He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.” Proverbs 17:9, Proverbs 15:4
2. Ignorance of how the unclean defile the clean, rather than the clean influencing the unclean. Hag. 2:11-14
3. Ignorance of what constitutes an evil report; In short, it is unauthorized, distorted, or false report which influences us to form an opinion about another person.
4. Ignorance of how evil reports are given. Evil reports are communicated by words, facial expressions, gestures, and tonal patterns. They can be subtle or obvious, quiet or angry, sweet or bitter.
5. Ignorance of who gives evil reports. Giving bad reports is part of the fallen nature of every person.
a. BUSY BODY: One who digs up evil reports and makes it his (her) business to spread them by means of gossip, slander, or whispering. Such actions can be called as great a sin as murder or stealing. For it is classified with these by God when He warns: “Let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.” 1 Peter 4:15
b. WHISPERER: One who secretly or privately passes on evil reports to others. “All that hate me whisper together against me: against me do they devise my hurt.” Psalms 41:7
c. GOSSIP: One who magnifies and sensationalizes rumors and partial information.
d. SLANDERER: One who seeks to destroy another’s credibility or reputation with damaging facts, distortions of facts, or evil suspicions. Numbers 14:36
6. Ignorance of what motivates evil reports (James 3:14-18 – earthly, sensual, demonic):
a. Bitterness – Reacting because of personal hurts.
b. Rebellion – Justifying an independent spirit.
c. Deception – Believing that evil reports are right.
d. Pride – Wanting to exalt self (I know something).
e. Guilt – Justifying past actions or attitudes.
f. Envy – Desiring what another has.
7. Ignorance of how susceptible we are to evil reports to evil reports:
a. We enjoy hearing them because they exalt us.
b. They bring down or hurt those whom we dislike.
c. We desire to know everything (curiosity).
8. Ignorance of how Satan uses evil reports:
a. To discredit spiritual leadership.
b. To cause Christian to close their spirit toward each other.
c. To multiply conflicts and produce more ungodliness.
d. To prompt non-Christians to mock Christianity and reject Christ.