Summary: The Christian’s speech should be a reflection of the Holy Spirit’s working, bringing value to those around us.
When I was in my twenties, I couldn’t hold on to money. If I had a dollar, I’d spend it. If I saw something I wanted, I bought it without much consideration as to whether it was a good deal or not. I’m not totally sure whether it was a function of getting older or marrying a woman who is frugal with her money, but I’ve turned 180 degrees from my younger days. Unless I convince myself that I really need something, and it’s a great deal, I’m not buying it.
Khristine and I like a certain department store here in town because they have great sales. It’s one of those places where you can get a $75 sweater for 15 bucks on sale. We’ll find a few of those deals and go out of the store “high-fiving” each other. And the store feeds into our glee because they print out on the receipt how much the merchandise would have been. For a guy with little athletic ability, it’s the closest I’ll ever get to making the winning shot.
But you know, a $15 sweater isn’t a great deal unless it’s a nice sweater. A piece of junk is never a good deal. That’s the same for anything in life. The things that are seen as worthwhile and desirable must have quality. That goes for cars, clothes, telephone service, education, even church. But people also want to know that they’re getting something for their investment. So what if you’re at the best university in the nation, but they don’t have the degree program you want? A great deal on a pair of dress shoes does you no good if they’re not your size.
The same holds true for how we communicate. You have the opportunity every day to positively affect others through your speech. Are they going away feeling like they got a good deal, or that they were ripped-off?
Our sermon title today is “Worthwhile Conversation” and the text is Ephesians 4:29. Would you say that your daily conversation is worthwhile? We’ll find out this morning as we answer the question:
What 2 tests must our daily conversation be able to pass?
The first test is the quality test.
Paul writes that no corrupt words should be heard coming from our mouths. In our society, “corrupt” can mean a number of things. Politicians and public officials are often found to be corrupt, in that they do illegal activities and use their positions for personal power and wealth.We see the corrupting influence that the entertainment-industrial complex is having on our nation’s young people. Their moral condition is being destroyed by all of the sinful behavior they observe in TV, movies and music. In the computer industry, a corrupted file is one that has been damaged, usually beyond repair, because of a virus or other outside factor. Corruption can also refer to something that is rotten and decayed, and this is the sense that is usually meant when we see it in the New Testament. This relates to these other definitions for “corrupt”, especially from a spiritual standpoint.
Jesus puts this into perspective for us in Luke 6:43-45. The fruit Jesus describes here are the works a man or woman does while here on earth. The good tree, which represents a believer should live a life that glorifies God and furthers the kingdom, which is good fruit. The bad tree, which would be those who reject Christ, can only produce bad fruit. The King James here uses the word “corrupt”. He says that we can identify a tree, and whether it is good or corrupt, by its fruit. Said another way, you know whether a person is a faithful believer or not by their words and works. But He goes a step further and states that the cause of that good is what is in the person’s heart. And he says at the end of verse 45 that it’s what’s in the heart that dictates what comes out of the mouth. So, if the mouth is spouting out what Jesus calls “corrupt fruit”, it’s an indicator that something is wrong with their heart. Either they don’t know Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord, or they’re a believer with a serious spiritual problem.
This leads to an obvious question then: what is corrupt speech?
Using the definition of “rotten” and Jesus’ image of the tree and its fruit as our guide, let me ask you to turn to Galatians 5:22-23. The fruit of the Spirit is the Christian’s guide to their spiritual growth. If you will, it’s our equivalent to the marks that parents put on the wall to track their children’s height as they grow. Every believer should be able to see these nine characteristics become more evident in their lives as they grow in their likeness of Christ. They also are the best guide I know of to determine what good speech is, and by extension, what would denote corrupt speech. All we have to do is take the good fruit, flip it, and we have corrupt fruit.