Summary: This sermon says that Christians should be careful in the way they talk to and about others.

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Ephesians 4:29-30

ILLUSTRATION Harry hosted a dinner party. One of his guests was a surgeon. While skillfully carving the roast, Harry kept up a running commentary: "How am I doing, Doc? How do you like that technique? I'd make a pretty good surgeon, don't you think?" When Harry had finished and the slices of meat lay neatly on the serving platter, the surgeon spoke up: "Anybody can take them apart, Harry. Now let's see you put them back together again." (Copied)

Our words can take people apart much more easily than we can put them back together.Speech is a wonderful gift of God. It is one of our human capacities which reflect our likeness to God. For our God speaks, and like him we also speak. Speech distinguishes us from the animal creation. Cows can moo, dogs bark, donkeys bray, pigs grunt, lambs bleat, lions roar, monkeys squeal and birds sing, but only human beings can speak.

29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

What is considered “unwholesome talk?” The term “unwholesome” came from the Greek word “sapros” which means bad and rotten like rotten vegetable or fish. Unwholesome talk means in a moral sense, corrupt, and foul. It may include dishonest, gossip, slander, unkind or vulgar that hurts or harms in some way the hearers.

Ephesians 5:4 4Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.

Why should we not let any “unwholesome talk” come out of our mouths? If we are truly a new creation of God, we shall undoubtedly develop new standards of conversation.

Matthew 12:36 36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the Day of Judgment for every empty word they have spoken.

Instead of hurting people with our words, we shall want to use them to help, encourage, cheer, comfort and stimulate them.

Proverbs 12:18 18The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Another reason “unwholesome talk” should not come out of our mouths is its effect on our relationship with the Holy Spirit of God. It grieves the Spirit when we have unwholesome talk. To grieve means to cause sorrow, pain, and distress. But why does it grieve him?

Since he is the ‘holy Spirit’, he is always grieved by ungodliness and since he is the ‘one Spirit’, disunity will also cause him grief. Unwholesome talk is ungodly and may cause disunity in the body of the Christ.

James 3:9–12 9With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

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