Sermons

Summary: Christians should always strive to not only choose their words wisely, but use them wisely.

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THE STORY IS TOLD OF A YOUNG LADY WHO WAS EAGERLY AWAITING THE ARRIVAL OF HER BOYFRIEND FOR THEIR FIRST DATE TOGETHER. ALTHOUGH HE WASN’T DUE TO ARRIVE FOR SOME TIME THE DOORBELL RANG WHILE SHE WAS STILL FIXING HER HAIR.

WITHOUT THINKING, SHE ANSWERED THE DOOR WITH HER HAIR STANDING ON END, NO MAKEUP, AND WEARING HER FAVORITE PAJAMAS. WHEN SHE OPENED THE DOOR SHE FOUND HERSELF STANDING FACE TO FACE WITH HER NEW DATE.

THE SURPRISE LEFT HER UTTERLY EMBARRASSED, BUT NOT DEFEATED. SHE MADE THE BEST OF THE SITUATION BY SMILING AND SAYING, “WELL, WHAT DO YOU THINK?” HER DATE GRINNED AND SAID GENTLY, “IT LOOKS LIKE SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN!” HE OBVIOUSLY STOLE HER HEART THAT VERY MOMENT.

THERE IS ANOTHER STORY ABOUT A TIME WHEN A HUSBAND CAME HOME ONE AFTERNOON AND CAUGHT HIS WIFE WITH HER HAIR UP IN HUGE CURLERS. HE SAID TO HER, “WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR HAIR?” THE WIFE REPLIED, “I SET IT.” THE HUSBAND JOKINGLY REPLIED, “IF YOU SET IT, THEN WHEN DOES IT GO OFF?”

ALTHOUGH BOTH STORIES HAVE A HUMOROUS SIDE, ONLY ONE QUALIFIES AS KIND AND GENTLE. WE ALL KNOW THAT WORDS CAN DEVASTATE OR DELIGHT. THEY CAN TEAR DOWN OR BUILD UP. WORDS CAN BRING LIFE AND SOME CAN EVEN KILL.

HOW CAN WE SPEAK THE KIND AND GENTLE WORDS THAT HAVE SUCH POSITIVE IMPACTS AS THE ONES SPOKEN BY THE MAN WHO ARRIVED EARLY FOR HIS DATE? IT COMES FROM OUR SCRIPTURE TEXT OF EPHESIANS 4:29, WHICH SPEAKS PROFOUNDLY ABOUT THE WORDS THAT WE USE. “DO 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.”

THIS VERSE SAYS THAT NOTHING UNWHOLESOME SHOULD EVER COME FROM OUR MOUTHS. THE WORD “UNWHOLESOME” IN ITS LITERAL GREEK TRANSLATION MEANS “ROTTEN” OR “DECAYING.” SOME TRANSLATIONS USE THE WORD “CORRUPT” WHICH MEANS “PUTRID, VILE, MORALLY UNWHOELSOME, OR WORTHLESS.”

WHEN YOU JOIN THOSE MEANINGS WITH THE WORD “TALK” IT TELLS US THAT THE WORDS WE USE IN OUR DAILY SPEECH SHOULD NEVER INCLUDE OBSCENITIES, MALICIOUS GOSSIP, SLANDER, OR ABUSIVE WORDS TOWARDS OTHERS.

THE FOCUS OF EPHESIANS 4:29, IS ON THE DESTRUCTIVE POWER OF WORDS AND THE HARM THEY CAN PRODUCE IN SOMEONE ELSE’S LIFE. MY PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY IS THAT SOME WORDS ‘QUALIFY’ AS HOMICIDE BECAUSE THEY CAN “KILL” SOMEONE’S SPIRIT…THEY CAN “KILL” SOMEONES SELF-ESTEEM… THEY CAN “KILL” DREAMS, HOPES, AND CAREERS…ALL BECAUSE OF THE MISUSE OF WORDS.

A CHRISTIAN SHOULD USE THEIR WORDS AS A MEANS OF GRACE TO OTHERS. A LITERAL GREEK TRANSLATION TELLS US TO USE WORDS THAT ARE EDIFYING AND SUITABLE FOR THE OCCASION. COLOSIANS 4:6, “LET YOUR CONVERSATION BE ALWAYS FULL OF GRACE, SEASONED WITH SALT, SO THAT YOU MAY KNOW HOW TO ANSWER EVERYONE.”

A BEAUTIFUL THING ABOUT ALL THIS FOCUS ON “SPEECH” IS THAT GOD WILL NEVER GIVES US A COMMAND TO OBEY WITHOUT FIRST GIVING US THE ABILITY TO OBEY SUCH COMMANDS. THROUGH THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, WE CAN MASTER THE ART OF SPEAKING IN A WAY THAT NOT ONLY BUILDS OTHERS UP, BUT GLORIFIES GOD.

SO, HOW CAN WE OBEY THIS COMMAND BOTH IN EVERYDAY CONVERSATION AT HOME OR WORK? I BELIEVE IT IS BY UNDERSTANDING THE TWO CHARACTERISTICS OF GODLY SPEECH SET FOR US IN EPHESIANS 4:29.


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