Summary: Our words are vital to how are our lives are lived, how we play out our lives as are promises of God's word. This sermon explores this.
Words are interesting things, the truth is that words can be really helpful or some can stir up more trouble than can be contained. The married men here, actually any man who has ever been in a relationship would know that a response to a comment such as “the hairdresser didn’t style my hair the way I wanted” is not to agree and say “yip, it’s a shambles”, but to say something along the lines of “you look stunning though”.
I know myself that there have been times when words have built me up and at other times have cut me down.
I want to look at words today in relation to how we respond to God and how we can use words to grow in our relationship with God and with others.
If we look at a few verses for a start we see some amazing things. Check these out for size.
“That if you confess with your mouth that, ‘Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved’ and the scripture says, ‘Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.’ For there is no difference between Jew or Gentile – the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”
Salvation then doesn’t require multiple lessons and soldiership classes, you don’t have to have read the Bible six times cover for cover, or attended worship for eight weeks and had a talk with the Corps Officer about your views on the church. No, to be saved you don’t have to do any of that it’s about confession of faith, those words “Jesus is Lord” and that heart belief that “Yes, God raised him from the dead.” The heart in this case is the whole person, that as a whole person you believe that Jesus is alive, you are then justified with God, and in speaking out his Lordship you are saved. God will then start you on a journey as long as you start walking as he wills you to journey.
There are some really powerful words that Paul uses there also; “That there is no difference between Jew and Gentile – the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him”, Back in the day that would be for us today like saying there is no difference between an All Blacks player and a member of the Otago Girls soccer team. The two groups of people Jews and Gentiles prior to Jesus coming were poles apart and opposed to one another, enemies. But in coming to faith in Jesus it was seen by the early Christians that God blessed everyone who called on his name equally. Salvation was given to all who would call on his name.
Here’s another interesting passage. From Proverbs 18:21 “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” It does, our words can either bring life or cause massive destruction, in some instances death.
Or this from James letter to the early church. “If anyone considers himself (and I will drop in here herself) religious (and I will drop the word in here Christian) and yet does not keep a tight rein on [their] tongue, [they deceive themselves] and their religion is worthless.” (James 1:26) The tongue is a dangerous thing if it engages before the brain and a bit of common sense. Richard Steele said this about the tongue “Fire and swords are slow engines of destruction, compared to the tongue of a Gossip.”
As Christians we have a need to consider our talk not just in how we address others but how we talk about others when we are not present with them the idea that ‘if it could not be said about a person when they are with you, it should not be said when they are not with you,’ keeps us safe from gossiping and also safe from choking on our own feet.
The thing is that as we speak something out we give it power, we by using words give life to great ideas or foolishness, to harm or the possibility of help. James makes it quite clear in the third Chapter of his letter, verses 9 and 10; “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.”