Summary: In any context in which we must work closely with people, we can expect conflict, irritation, inconsistency, and aggravation. It takes discipline to handle them well.
1. There is a constant debate between computer users: Is Apple (Mac) better than Windows?
2. For people who work with graphics, the Mac will win by and large.
3. But for the rest of us, the matter is debated — especially taking into account the cost difference.
4. Some people have almost cult-like appreciation for Apple products.
5. Our text today uses imagery based upon an apple; at the time it was composed, Microsoft did not exits. The apple, in this case, is a literal apple.
6. Not talking about garden of Eden — no apple mentioned there (figs?).
7. The broader subject of our text is relational discipline.
Main Idea: In any context in which we must work closely with people, we can expect conflict, irritation, inconsistency, and aggravation. It takes discipline to handle them well.
I. The Discipline of Drawing Conclusions Carefully and Acting in a DELAYED Fashion (8-10)
A. One REACTIONARY behavior is rushing to court.
• Jesus midrash: avoid court when you can, Matthew 5:23-26:
So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison.26 Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.
B. Another reactionary behavior is to rush to the NEIGHBORS.
• "To run to the law or to the neighbors is usually to run away from the duty of personal relationship..." (Derek Kidner)
• Good relationships require good communication!
C. Address matters PRIVATELY instead.
1. PRAY about it.
2. Determine a PLAN to address it.
3. SLEEP on it.
4. Remember Vasicek’s Law: People always do what they do for a REASON.
D. If you are IMPULSIVE or reactionary, you come out looking foolish.
King Josiah’s deadly mistake (2 Chronicles 35:20-24)
II. The Discipline of Purposing Our Tongues to BUILD UP, Not Tear Down (11-14)
Ephesians 4:29 could be a midrash on this text: "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear."
A. Our tongues are like VOLUME controls with numerous settings.
B. Appropriate words are like a piece of fine ART (11)
1. We might refer to this as a picture of good taste in choosing our words. Some people say, “I don’t care what other people think.” Such people should be ashamed of themselves.
2. This is what Paul means by choosing words that “give grace.”
3. A friend confronted me about my “filter.” A needed correction. Different expression.
“…if somebody is said to have "no filter" then they have a tendency to speak their mind more than would be socially acceptable and thus are often perceived as being rude.” [quora.com]
4. I hate it when I allow ungracious words out of my mouth; those who hear them hate it even more. I try to check it, but my filter can use some work. Many of you do, too.
5. Prv. 15:23, “To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is!”
C. When a receptive listener is confronted by a gentle REPROVER, it is like gold!
1. Reproof is illustrated to us as a beautiful earing or piece of jewelry
2. To a responsive person, it is more blessed to receive reproof than give it!
3. Not the picky-pickiness of perfectionism or people into trifles, but real issues at hand.
4. When we correct someone, & they recognize our motive is good & our hearts are kind, a beautiful interaction takes place; if they become defensive & attack us, not so pretty a picture!
I Samuel 25:32, David to Abigail, “And David said to Abigail, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me! Blessed be your discretion, and blessed be you, who have kept me this day from bloodguilt and from working salvation with my own hand!”
D. A good word is REFRESHING!
The Gospel is “good news” because it is not just empty religious words. It conveys crucial content.
The Son did become incarnate, did die to atone for our sin, did rise from the dead. Trusting in that messages brings us a new life!
E. EMPTY words disappoint and frustrate (14).
The majority of evangelicalism in our world is sadly plagued by the prosperity Gospel. What is it?