Summary: Exposition of Ephesians 4:29-32 in light of the passage in the covenant that deals with gossip, feuding, and grudges
Text: Eph 4:29-32, Title: When the Spirit Weeps, Date/Place: NRBC, 8/17/08, PM
A. Opening illustration: The fine line between keeping Mackenzie from being a little mama and being a tattletale
B. Background to passage: We now continue in the covenant series with tonight’s message related to a specific problem that we struggle with.
C. Main thought: The Spirit is most grieved and displeased when we fight and behave unbecomingly in the Church of the Living God
A. Gossip (v. 29, 31)
1. In our covenant, we promise “to avoid all tattling.” Paul tells the Ephesians in v. 29 to prohibit “corrupt words” from coming out of our mouths. The word used here means “rotten” or “spoiled” food. This is a broad concept that is further specified in v. 31 with the word that means to slander. So the concept includes a multitude of speech related sins, but specifically those that relate to harming others. The point of Paul’s statement is that as a believer your speech should change. It should be different from others in the world. Remember that God includes gossip with sins such as murder
3. Illustration: Coming out of church, Mrs. Smith asked her husband, "Do you think that Johnson girl is tinting her hair?" "I didn’t even see her," admitted Mr. Smith. "And that dress Mrs. Davis was wearing," continued Mrs. Smith, "Really, don’t tell me you think that’s the proper costume for a mother of two." "I’m afraid I didn’t notice that either," said Mr. Smith. "Oh, for heaven’s sake," snapped Mrs. Smith. "A lot of good it does you to go to church." Only difference between "gossip" and "slander" is one of degrees. Suppose you wanted to kill someone. More than one way to do it. Take a shotgun, walk right up to their face, announce that you’re going to shoot them, and then blow them away. That’s slander. Or, you could take a rifle with a scope. Attach a silencer to it, hide yourself a safe distance away, kill them from long-distance. Never know what hit them. That’s gossip. “We love our insider status more than we love people.”
4. This includes dirty jokes, stories about others (true or untrue), profanity, vulgarity, hateful language, and character slander. The main way that gossip happens at NRBC is by passing along true accounts of other people’s lives to many people. Really, you don’t have to tell everyone you know about all you know. You and I both know that there are certain people that you just can’t tell things to unless you want the whole church to know about it. Ultimately, it is a heart issue. We must begin to kill it in our own hearts first, then stamp it out in the church. You can always say, “Can I quote you on this?” Make people think that you are going to verify every piece of information with their name attached too it. Many times I just want to call people up when I hear that they are mad and sulking about something, and say, “So and So said that you were mad.” And it is usually much less severe than they make it out to be.