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

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WHOLESOME TALK

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.

What qualifies as “wholesome talk?”

1. GOAL: Helpful for building others up

The Greek word for helpful is “agathos” which means good, benevolent, profitable, and useful. Our talk is wholesome when its goal is good, benevolent, and profitable in building others up. The idea of building here is similar to building up the house. When you build, you use only quality and appropriate materials. The phrase “building others up” also implies increasing the potential of someone. In others words, our talk is wholesome when it increases the potential of the person we’re talking about.

ILLUSTRATION …CBS released The Karen Carpenter Story. Karen died unexpectedly …of heart failure at age 32 brought on by years of self-abused from the eating disorder Anorexia Nervosa. But what brought Karen's fatal obsession with weight control? It seems a reviewer once called her "Richard's chubby sister." Lord, please help us to know the power of our words! -(USA Today, December 30, 1988)

Before you say something to somebody or about anybody, check your goal: is it helpful in building that person up or does it increase the potential of that person.

Another checklist is the …

2. TIMING: According to the needs

Sometimes what we are saying is not necessarily wrong but if it is not needed, it is useless and irrelevant. Unwholesome words include criticism, blaming, and discouraging words. When someone commits a mistake or sin, failed and hurting, we should be careful in uttering inappropriate words. Make sure we would say something that is relevant and needed.

How do you know that what you said is relevant? Check the …

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