Summary: 34th in a series from Ephesians dealing with controlling our tongue and encouraging one another.
“An Encouraging Word”
I. Our Wealth and Worth In Christ 1-3
II. Our Worthy Walk in Christ 4-6
A. Live in Unity 4:1-16
B. Live in Newness of life 4:17-24
C. Live in Love 4:17-24
1. Speak truth not falsehood 4:25
2. Be angry without sinning 4:26-27
3. Work with your hands to give to others. 4:28
4. Speak with your mouth to encourage others 4:29
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29
Speak with your mouth to encourage and energize.
Paul instructed the Ephesians to work with their hands so they have something helpful to give. He instructed them to open their mouth so they would have something encouraging to say. God intended the church to be like the old west.
“For seldom was heard a discouraging word…”
Every one of us have heard and probably repeated a little verse that is as far from the truth as one can get.
“Sticks and stones may break my bones but name (words) will never hurt me.
That simply is not true.
“Sticks and stones may break my bones and words can also hurt me.
The power of words is breath taking
"Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit." Prov 18:21
Massive movements in history have been the result of words.
Paul includes some very important counsel concerning our use of words.
We find another double-sided instruction. “Stop every unwholesome worthless word -- only speak words that build and energize.
For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well. Now if we put the bits into the horses' mouths so that they may obey us, we direct their entire body as well. Behold, the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder, wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. Behold, how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed, and has been tamed by the human race. But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father; and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. James 3:2-10
That is why he urges us to be quick to hear and slow to speak. There are words that give life and words that kill. Peter literally links length and quality of life to our use of words.
Those who are changed from the core pay attention to what comes out of their mouth because what comes out of our mouth reveals the inner condition the soul.
You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. The good man out of his good treasure brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of his evil treasure brings forth what is evil. Mat 12:34-35
James was very pointed about the necessity of bridling our tongue.
If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is worthless. James 1:26
Many have spent their lives longing and searching for that special verbal affirmation called a blessing from some significant person in their life. We live by words of encouragement.
How many athletes have gone the extra mile because of a word of encouragement? Nearly everything we do in life revolves around the use of words. Our words can bless others. Our mouth can also inflict piercing pain and penetrate the inner soul. Many can attest to the power and pain of words spoken to them. Unfortunately discouraging words pack more punch that encouraging ones. One negative comment can knock out a hundred positive ones. When we speak of words out of our mouth we are really talking about the whole issue of communication which includes verbal and non-verbal communication.