Our tongue is an intriguing study of great contrasts. Think of that object resting in your mouth just now. To the Doctor, it is a two-ounce slab of mucous membrane containing a world of inter-related muscles and nerves. That is an interesting tongue.
To our Body, it is a vital organ that must work properly if we are to eat, chew, taste, swallow, and talk. That is the helpful tongue.
To other People, the tongue is the primary avenue of communication. It gives us the ability to inflect sounds and articulate words distinctly. It gives us a vehicle to communicate our thoughts. That is the essential tongue.
Yes, without the tongue – No teacher could guide their pupils. No coach could prepare his team. No mother could softly sing her baby to sleep. No leader could motivate his group adequately.
No Pastor could bring comfort to heavy hearts.
No issues could be discussed and resolved. But to God, our tongue reveals what is really going on in our hearts. Healthy communication is defined so clearly by God’s Word. -Is your speech mixed with grace, is your tongue guarded by the Spirit? -Do your words come from a pure heart and a sound mind with no room for foolish, course, or off-color words? -Is your tongue a conduit for the wisdom that is from above, so that most of all, your speech pleases Christ Jesus? Come & join me as we consider the Power of Spoken Words.
Our tongue is an intriguing study of great contrast. Have you thought about that? Think of the object resting in your mouth right now.
- To the doctor it’s just a two ounce slab of mucous membrane that contains a world of interrelated muscles and nerves. That’s an interesting tongue.
- To our body it’s a vital organ and it has to work properly if we’re to eat and chew and taste and swallow and talk. That’s the helpful tongue.
- To people around us, the tongue is the primary avenue of communication. It gives us the ability to inflect sounds, to articulate words, and to be distinct in our communication. It allows us to communicate our thoughts. That’s the essential tongue.
Yes, without our tongue no teacher would be able to guide their pupils. No coach could prepare his team. No mother could softly comfort her baby to sleep. No leader could motivate his group adequately. No pastor could bring comfort to heavy hearts. No issues could be discussed and resolved.
- But to God, our tongue is the window to our soul that reveals what’s really going on in our heart.
Healthy communication is defined so clearly in God’s word. My question today in this class is, is your speech and the words that you have spoken today mixed with grace? Is your tongue being guarded right now and every time you speak by the Holy Spirit? Do your words, God asks us, do our words come from a pure heart? Do we have a sound mind? That we have chosen has no room for foolish and course and off-color words? Is our tongue a conduit? Surrender to God, for His wisdom, that is from above, so that most of all my speech and your speech pleases Jesus Christ.
With that introduction, come join me as we consider the power of spoken words. It’s hard to believe that we’re on the 10th and final class hour of going through and Exploring the Book of Proverbs. It’s really been my privilege to be with you as a teacher. This virtual classroom is a joy, that I can still come to you primarily, I’m speaking to those of you that are sitting in the classroom in East Asia right now. Thank you. Thank you for tracking with us every step with this class. Thank you for taking your Bibles, taking notes. I know that your test is coming. I know your projects are due soon. I pray that the truth of God’s word has deeply penetrated your heart and especially, the best for last, this class. So, my prayers are with you.
Let’s look at specifically the title of this class. Proverbs is all about living life God’s way. Our final class is about the power, and that’s how God describes our words, the power of spoken words. Two versus we want to look at. Proverbs 18:21 is the first one. This is the key theme verse. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who love it will eat its fruit.” What the Lord is saying is that our tongue is the only part of our whole body, that’s in the New Testament in the book of James, that we’re going to. The Bible says our tongue can either be empowered by the very Holy Spirit of God, to be a tool in His hands or this is what James says. Our tongue is the only member of our body that can be set on fire by Satan and be a tool of hell. That’s what James 3 says. So, we’re talking about maybe the most powerful organ in our body to communicate and to be a tool in God’s hand. Speak life. Just like life is coming out of the barren earth, that’s the power of spoken words.
Take your Bible to look these passages up, to mark them. Those of you that are in the course for credit, you half to take notes, but the rest of us, if you really want to study- start jotting down some of these references. Start making notes in your Bible, so that you can remember these truths.
This “brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things?” Now, here’s the heart of today’s lesson, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Verse 35, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.” Verse 36, “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.” That verse should grip you for the rest of your life. It has me. It makes me think about the fact that every word I speak the Lord is listening and that I’m going to have to give an accounting for whether or not, as a believer, my words were powerfully used to give life or whether they were just wasted.
Now there’s a picture, when I was a young man in high school and first started, progressively, reading through the Bible. I remember reading about Samuel in the Old Testament. The one thing about Samuel, I learned as a teenager that just never left my mind was it says in Samuel, the prophet in the Old Testament – 1 & 2 Samuel, let none of his words… So, that means as he was speaking, he let none of his words fall to the ground. Now, growing up in Michigan as a young man, every year the ground was just filled with leaves in the fall. We would walk and our shoes would make them swish, swish, swish. Then my parents would put a rake in my hand as a young man, but as I raked, as a young man, I thought how many words are strewn on the ground, that fall to the ground like these leaves from me? Jesus said, I say to you, every idle word men may speak, they will give an account of it at the day of judgment. I started thinking that day, standing in those leaves, raking them up; am I going to have to, in front of the judgment seat of Christ, watch so much of the most powerful part of my life. I can speak life and death to people. I can share the gospel. I can encourage. I can edify. I can exhort. I can admonish, all those things in the scriptures. Or I can just let my words fall to the ground.
Stop for a second and think, in the last 24 hours how many of your words have been empowered by the Holy Spirit to go right into someone else’s heart and mind as a blessing, as a tool, as a powerful extension of God’s work through you? How many words are just strewn on the ground around you wasted? Unused by the Lord.
This class is about how do we use our words to speak life. How do we harness the power of spoken words, the power of life and death? I already read that to you. I’ll repeat it. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Now, what does that mean? I just ate some of that fruit today, this class. It’s just one class of classes that I’ve been teaching for the last four decades. I’ve been teaching the Bible for four decades. I had a young man, and he came up to me and said, pastor, I want to do something for you. I said, what? He said, I want to make a website for you. I said, what’s a website? Now this is way back, like in the nineties and I said, if it’s something the Lord can use fine. He said, can I do it? I said, sure. I never paid attention to him, from what he was doing. I didn’t even know what a website was. About a year later, I started getting mail from people asking me questions and thanking me for stuff. Mail. They had seen messages, both the printed and back then just the audio. We didn’t have video. That was in 1995. So, 25 years later, all those years of teaching, what he started way back then is still going and it’s getting wider and wider and wider. People today wrote me from Ireland. It was a businessman and he said, I’ve come to Christ in a completely Roman Catholic country. I am training with you going to all your classes. We have not just Proverbs. We have Hebrews and Leviticus and Isaiah and the Psalms and Revelation. There are so many books of the Bible. Mark and the gospel by John and others, but he says I’m taking one course at a time. He said, I want to thank you though. There is no local church anywhere within driving distance of where I live. He said my life is changing as I studied the Bible being taught by you.
Now look back at what that verse says. God says our words have the power of life and death. In 18:21, do you remember what I read to you? It says that those who love it will eat its fruit. Do you know what that means? I’m eating the fruit of prayerfully asking God to use my words, to train people in His truth. I’m hearing from him from Ireland. Remember yesterday, I told you in the class that I heard from someone that lives way up in Canada next to Alaska in an area called Yukon. They said that they’ve come to Christ and pray that their wife will come to Christ. He asked me how he could be the best husband, to win his wife to Christ. That’s the fruit of our words that are offered to God.
Secondly, God says my words have the power to heal or to wound. Now, 12:18 is the reference there, let me read it to you. Proverbs 12:18 says, “There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, but the tongue of the wise promotes health.” God says, my words have the power to heal or to wound. When I was a little boy, my parents used to take us to the state fair. I don’t know if you ever go to the state fair or even have one in your state, but the Michigan state fair was a big deal. We’d go and we’d march up and down the rows, looking at the animals and looking at the displays but what I loved is the people that had the stands in the fair main through way, that sold things. My parents would stop at different stands and listened to the salesman. My favorite one was the Veg-o-matic man. Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the dramatic machine, but it was a little machine that had the sharpest blades that were interlaced. And this man would show us that he could take a whole head of cabbage and dice it up into coleslaw in 15 seconds. And he would set a timer and it would come out and there’d be Coleslaw and then he’d put a little sauce on it, and I guess we didn’t have any COVID fears back then, because all of us would sample it. Then he would take a carrot and it took five seconds. He would take a potato and it would be French fries in five seconds. The key he said was the blades were so sharp. Of course, all the ladies would buy one. When he got done, he’d be selling them for $5 and, you’d just see $5 bills coming and him passing them out.
What does that have to do with the Bible? It says in Ephesians 4:29, “let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth.” Corrupt, it’s interesting in Greek, has two meanings. One is cutting, the other is rotting. Now, I don’t know the connection between rotting and cutting, but in some cases that word is used for something so sharp it just cuts through everything. Like the sharpest sword or spear point over here. It’s something that’s so corrupt. It’s just like the rotten stuff in your garbage can, that you forgot to take out to the trash man, and it ferments in your garage. It just gets overpoweringly awful. What the Bible says is, don’t let your tongue be either corrupt, like saying things that are stinky and awful and dishonor God, or Proverbs 12:18, “there is one who speaks like the piercing of a sword, but the tongue of the wise promotes health.”
Do you want to harness the power of spoken words? Surrender to God and say, I don’t want my tongue to be corrupt. I don’t want to be piercing like a spear or a sword. I don’t want to say things that hurt people, wound people. I want to heal people.
Next slide. God wants me to know the limitations of my words. There are two points here that I want you to see.
- The first one is, God says my words are never a substitute for my deeds.
- Secondly God says, my word should not alter the facts.
My words are limited in two ways. The first one is and let’s read this, Proverbs 14:23, in your Bible. I have it written down here, “In all labor there is profit, but idle chatter leads only to poverty.” What He said is, words are not substitute for action. You don’t talk about; I’m going to serve the Lord without the action behind it; of finding a place to get plugged in a local church or a ministry or becoming a witness or leading a small group. Words are not a substitute for deeds, God says. So, our words are limited in that if we say things that we don’t do, pretty soon people won’t trust what we say. That’s the limiting factor. Words should issue from a life of reality.
When I was training for the ministry, John MacArthur said, don’t try and live up to your preaching. Preach, what you’re living. What he’s saying is, first let the word of God deal with your heart. Surrender and offer yourself back to God and let Him do the work of transformation before you ever tell other people what to do. So, don’t try and live up to what you’re saying, say what you’re living. See, that’s the authenticity the world’s looking for.
The second passage. God says my word should not alter the facts. On the slide, let me read Proverbs 26, starting in verse 23, “Fervent lips with a wicked heart are like earthenware covered with silver dross.” Oh boy. That’s an old, antiquated thing. Earthenware is like a clay pot. So, some type of terracotta vessel that has silver paint on it to look like silver, but when you really pick it up, touch it, or even tap it, it cracks, and you find out it’s just a clay pot. So, a person that speaks fervently, but has a wicked heart, that isn’t obedience to the Lord, is a fake; like verse 23 says. Now verse 24, “He who hates, disguises it with his lips, and lays up deceit within himself; when he speaks kindly, do not believe him, for there are seven abominations in his heart; though his hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness will be revealed before the assembly.” So, what the Lord is talking about is don’t communicate falsely. Don’t hide the facts by acting or saying things that are true and not believing them, not doing them. It’s just an amplification of the first point.
- The next slide tells us my words are to be honest, not false.
- God says, His will is that my words be few, not many. Whoa, look up from your slide for a second. Do you see the leaves falling? Where we are right now, serving here in Colorado, the Aspen trees are shedding their glorious, golden yellow leaves and they’re just piling up on the ground. Are your words piling up around you or, look back at the slide, are your words few, not many?
- Next one, God resists boastful words. We’re going to see Him define that when we look that one up.
- God resist argumentative words. So, four points we’re going to look at; we should be honest not false, few not many words, God doesn’t want to speak boastfully or argumentatively.
So, let’s look those up. Go in your Bible to Proverbs 12, and I’m going to go with you. Proverbs 12. Coming to this class is like a Bible drill, it’s learning the books of the Bible. Some of you probably don’t know the books of the Bible. You should learn them. There are only 66 of them. You can say them rapidly and memorize them easily but until that time, there is on Amazon, if you’re anywhere that you can order online, there are little tabs that you can actually stick onto the pages of your Bible. I don’t have one on this Bible, but they actually have from Genesis all the way through to Revelation. You can put those tabs on and there’s a little guide. Then whenever you hear a book of the Bible, you just look at the side, and it’s abbreviated, and you just open it right to that part of the Bible. The last ones I bought on Amazon were like $7.99 to make your Bible instantly accessible so you can start using a paper Bible that you can mark in and be able to find all the verses.
Look at 12:22, this is what it says. “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal truthfully are His delight.” How do you like that? God wants to delight when I talk. Have you ever thought about that? Do you have anybody you look up to? A hero, a star, that you would just be all tongue tied in their presence? The highest person in the universe is our creator God and 12:22 says those who deal truthfully, we have a life that communicates truth, our actions, and our words, delights the Lord. Delight God with truthfulness.
Second one, verse 19 of chapter 10, remember that one says, our words should be few. Not many is what it says. “In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise.” God says, I want you to restrain your lips. Actually, the Psalms, one that I memorized when I was a young man, set a watch at the door of my mouth that I sin not against you with my tongue. God, I want my words to be few. I want to think about them before I speak. I don’t want to be raining downwards and having leaf piles of words that are wasted all around me. I want you to be delighted when you witness me communicating.
Next it says in chapter 27, verse 2 of Proverbs, that we should not be boastful. 27:2 “Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.” We should not introduce conversations that lead to us looking great, that doesn’t delight the Lord. Wait until someone notices how amazingly we’re under the control of God’s Spirit, how amazingly we show wisdom, how amazingly we show restraint and love and kindness and healing words that have the power of the Holy Spirit behind them. They go, wow. How did you get like that? Everybody else sits around and boasts and brags and tells off-color jokes. You don’t do any of those things. You say, that’s because God convicted me about it. I’m the worst sinner I know in the world and I asked Him to change my heart. He has set a watch at the door of my mouth, so I don’t sin against Him with my tongue.
God also resists, Proverbs 17:14, argumentative words. This is what it says in 17:14. “The beginning of strife is like releasing water; therefore stop contention before a quarrel starts.” God says don’t. You never win an argument. Don’t get involved in an argument, as the tempers rises the whole contention builds. It’s going to explode, like it says, like a dam bursting. So, don’t get involved in argumentative words. That’s part of wisdom. That’s God’s will.
The next slide tells us God resists the gossip of revealing secrets and God resists the gossip of spreading slander. Now there’s two kinds of gossip there. We’ll look at those in the scriptures. That’s negatively, God resist gossip of revealing secrets and spreading slander but positively, God blesses reasonable words.
Turn in your Bibles to Proverbs 11:13 and this is what it says, “A tale bearer reveals secrets, but he who is a faithful spirit conceals a matter.” God says revealing secrets about people is gossip. In the New Testament one of the names of Satan. Diabolos is actually the Greek word for slander and that is a form of gossip.
Look at the next one, chapter 26 verse 20. God resists the gossip of spreading slander and you can just say spreading Satan, spreading the devils, spreading the diabolos. It says this in 26:20, “Where there is no wood, the fire goes out; and where there is no talebearer strife ceases. As charcoal is to burning coals, and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindle strife. The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles. And they go down into the inmost body.” What is that God says? He doesn’t want us surrendering our powerful tongue and our spoken words to the devil in the form of slander. He also doesn’t want us in the form of being a gossip, someone who reveals everybody’s secrets, or a slanderer, someone who does what it says here. A talebearer, and they have tasty trifles, and they try and harm someone by the stories they tell. God says, no, a godly person conceals those things. You know what the Bible says? We put a blanket, an overcoat over someone else’s fault. We don’t spread them like trifles that go down deep into someone’s heart. It’s very hard to forget some slanderous scandalous thing you’ve heard about someone. Think about it, when you see someone that you’ve heard some horrible tale about it, doesn’t it come right to your mind when you see them.
It reminds me, when I was in youth group, when I was as young as many of you students. In church, we had this youth pastor, he was a businessman, but he was really gifted at communicating to us teenagers. He one day brought in baby powder. Now, it used to be in the old days when I was little, they had this white powder it was called baby powder. When you change the baby’s diapers, you just squeeze the bottle and poof a little puff of white powder on them. Now, they found out now that it’s really bad for your lungs and they’re all kinds of class action suits but back then, it was really fun because whenever you’re around a baby wearing diapers, it just smelled so pretty. It was this talcum powder, baby powder with perfume in it. So, he came in and had put baby powder, this white powder, it’s very fine, finer than flour and it smells so nice. He put it right on his Bible and he said when you slander and gossip and tell something, you shouldn’t about someone it’s just like this. He blew on it and that powder went into the whole room. It’s so fine that his blowing on it, it just went up into the air and all of us, pretty soon the whole youth room was filled with this powder. You could see it in the air, and it smelled so pretty. He said, I’m sorry I shared that gossip, I would like to take it back, I don’t remember what I said. He said it would be like me trying to go and capture every one of those particles of talcum powder, of baby powder and put it back here. He said, is it ever possible to put that powder back on my Bible? He said, you can never take back your words when you slander and talebearing, you’ve surrendered your tongue to the devil.
If you’ve ever done that, I know I have and I say, Oh, I wish I hadn’t said that, I wish I hadn’t told someone that. What do we do? We go and say, don’t tell anybody. If you have to tell someone not to tell someone what you’re telling them, you shouldn’t tell it to them. If you’re not part of the problem or the solution, you shouldn’t share a story about someone that’s negative, unless you’re personally pursuing getting it resolved and becoming the solution, you shouldn’t be involved.
God blesses reasonable words. It says in Proverbs 15:28.
Let’s keep going because I do want to finish this course with you. The next slide says, God blesses gentle and peaceable word. And God wants my words to be apt and not untimely. Proverbs 15:1 says this, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” What the Lord says is, if you’re in a tense situation and someone is raising their voice, have you ever had someone turn red and start speaking louder and louder and start yelling at you? Do you know what God said? A soft answer will turn away their wrath because it surprises them. They expect you to get angry too and respond in kind. But if you say, Oh, I’m so sorry I didn’t mean to walk on your lawn, or step in your place, or sit in your chair, or touch your…, I didn’t know that I…, I’m sorry. A soft answer God blesses, gentle and peaceable words. On the slide it says James 3:17, that’s a great verse. We’re going to come back to right here on the board because spiritual maturity equals our tongues control but let me read it to you right now. James 3:17 says, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure,” listen, “then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.” Did you know, I have that verse memorized. Do you know why? Because I plead with God to send that wisdom from above on me. I want to first in my response be pure, and peaceable, and gentle, and easily, and treated without partiality, without hypocrisy. I want to be that way. I know you want it to be that way. We have to ask for grace to be that way.
The second thing on the side, God wants my words to be apt, not untimely. I’ll read the verse to you, it’s Proverbs 25:11, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” Have you ever been involved in a conversation and you’ve been watching someone that’s communicating to a group of people, and they say just the right thing? It’s so fitting, it’s when we hear that we go, ah, I wish I would have thought of that. I wish I would have said that. Have you ever witnessed that? I have so often heard someone communicate in a time of stress or sorrow or some difficult time, that I look at them and I admire how they communicate. I have actually sought out those people and sought to ask them, how do you communicate that way?
In fact, that’s actually how I got started in training for the ministry. Someone gave me a tape, you know what a tape is, a cassette tape. It’s a little square thing that has magnetic tape in it and you poke it into something, and it plays, many years ago, like 40. 42 years ago, to be exact. Yeah, it was 42 years ago. Someone gave me a cassette tape of a person I’d never heard of and they said, you ought to listen to that. You need to listen to that. I was a little offended. It was about living for the Lord and I was struggling. So, I poked it into the cassette player in my car and I actually pulled my car over and sat there listening to that voice from the cassette. I looked on the cassette and there was an address. I wrote a letter to the address on the cassette. I wrote and I said, I’ve never heard anybody communicate the Bible like you did on this cassette I got. Is there any way in the world I could meet you? I’d love to talk to you. I would like to find out how you can communicate the Bible like that. I wrote that on paper and licked a stamp and put it in the mailbox. Two weeks later, I got a letter back and it said, I’d love to meet you. I’m going to be speaking in Columbia, South Carolina in chapel and if you come, I’ll take you out to lunch afterward. Signed John MacArthur. That’s how I met him. I sat across the table with him and I said, I’ve never heard anybody teach the Bible like you do. How do you teach it? He started discipling me, which ended up a few years later I was on staff with him.
Do you see that? God wants us to speak, look at verse 11 of chapter 25, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” That’s how God wants us to speak. Do you know one of the ways you can do that? Get around someone that speaks that way and learn from them.
Next slide, God says a person’s words reflect their heart’s character. A godly heart produces words with positive impact for righteousness. That’s Proverbs 10:11. If a person’s heart is ungodly, their words are proud. Now look up and let me just explain this. This is maybe the most important lesson of this class. If you want to know about someone, listen to them in the background where they don’t know you’re really watching them. Just listen to them talk to their friends. Listen to them interact with people. If you want to know them, for example, if there’s someone you want to date – young lady, young man- you want to date this person, be within earshot so you can hear how they communicate with people and you will have a window into their heart. That’s what God’s word says. Here’s the two passages I’ll read them to you. It says in Proverbs 10:11, “The mouth of the righteous is a well of life, but violence covers the mouth of the wicked.” The next one, Proverbs 6:16, “These six things the Lord hates, yes seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among the brethren.” Did you know those truths from those verses are that out of the abundance of our heart, our mouth speaks? That’s what Jesus said in Matthew 12. He corroborates what it says right here in Proverbs 10 and 6. Both of those passages say that our words give you an insight to what’s in our heart. If you want to know someone, listened to them.
In the old westerns, the John Wayne movies, they used to have this saying; if you give someone enough rope, they’ll hang themselves. Do you know what that means? People can’t hide what they’re really like. If you listen to them talk long enough, they will finally reveal not the aura persona, the carefully cultivated image socially, but what they really are. It comes out in their words.
Next slide. God says, our words reflect our companions and friends. So, our words rise as reflections of what’s invisibly within us. Our words are one of the most amazing insights into who we are on the inside. You can look up those two verses. Proverbs 13:20 and 15:28
On the next slide, as men and women of grace, we want sound speech. Now, look what I wrote on the board, God wants us to have sound speech. Now, in the New Testament, hygiainō, that’s a Greek word, is the word sound. Some of you, your Bibles will have Titus 2:8, it says sound speech, or a modern translation will say healthy speech. Because hygiainō, that’s the same word as hygiene/ hygienic. Hygiainō means healthy, sound means there’s no defects in it. So, what God says He’s looking for in Titus 2:8 is men and women and get your Bible to Titus. Don’t you wish some of you had tabs. Titus is hard to find. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus. There it is. Philemon, Titus 2:8. Sound speech, hygiainō, sound/healthy speech. Verse eight, “that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.” The Lord says he wants our talking to be so guarded by His Spirit that when enemies of Christ notice us, it’s like when Jesus talked in His public ministry. The people that were sent to arrest Him came back to the chief priest and rulers. They said, where is He? Why didn’t you arrest Him? They said, we’ve never heard anybody talk that way. Now, that’s not how I am. I couldn’t talk soundly, but the new creation I am in Christ by His grace, He can change the way I talk so it’s Titus 2:8.
The next slide, healthy communication in an unhealthy world is God’s plan for us. That’s what the Lord wants from us. Basically, what God wants us to do is in the next slide.
He wants us to follow His healthy communication manual. Now, look up here and I’ve written on the board. If you want to really grow in your understanding of healthy speech. What is sound in God’s sight? What really will make Him delighted? Remember that proverb that says, when we speak His truth, that delights our creator. It’s when we do this. Do you remember the biggest choice in life is, whether we’re going to live God’s way, with the transformation from the inside out that leads to us having sound words rather than corrupt? That’s another difference between the saved and the lost. Do you remember over here, Ephesians 4:29, which is right here in this healthy speech manual? Don’t let your words be corrupt, cutting, or rotting.
So, this slide, if you look at it, healthy communication is in Ephesians, chapter 4-6. Now for the next 11 slides, I’m going to just leave these slides in front of you and I’m going to read these verses to you.
What I’d like you to do is, find Ephesians 4:15, get your pen out and try and underline the part in each of these verses I have bolded. So, that’s your little assignment for your note taking from this course. Ephesians 4:15 says, “but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head – Christ.” Speaking the truth in love, that’s what God wants us to do.
Ephesians 4:22, “that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man, which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,” verse 23, “be renewed in the spirit of your mind,” verse 24, “put on the new man, which was created according to God, in true righteousness.” Now look up from your verse, this is a choice. Putting off means I say God, I don’t want to talk that way anymore. Being renewed is the renewing of the word of God. My mind gets renewed when I read this book prayerfully and when I surrender to the truth. When I say God, I don’t want to just be a hearer of the word, I want to be a, what? Say it out loud, a do-er of the word. Look back at the side, you put on the new man and so we put off, when we repent. We get renewed in the word and we put on.
Keep looking at the slides, Ephesians 4:25, “put away lying,’ let each one of you speak truth’…” That’s an imperative, that’s in a special form of the Greek verb so that we know it’s a command. Always “…speak truth with his neighbor,’ for we are members of one another.”
Next slide, Ephesians 4:29, that I had on the board here for you. “Let no corrupt…” that let no, it’s an imperative, it’s a command. God commands us. Don’t have corrupt, that’s cutting and rotten, “word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God.” Look how close that is to verse 29, our words can grieve the “Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” Verse 31, “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor,” and look what is next, “and evil speaking.” That’s another imperative, “be put away from you, with all malice.” Verse 32, here’s God’s speech plan for us, “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”
Next slide in our communications manual. By the way, look up from the slides for a second. Did you know this is the most comprehensive guide to how God wants anyone to speak in the whole Bible? Ephesians 4, 5, and 6 have 11 passages that say, talk this way, talk this way, talk this way. It’s godly, it’s God’s will. It’s the way of the new creation we are in Christ. It’s how we please God, and He delights. What does that look like? Look at Ephesians 5:4, “neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.”
For just a second look up. I went into a staff meeting once. This is honestly what happened. I was pastoring an amazing church. There were 25 or 30 people on staff. There were six pastors. We were sitting around the table. We were about ready to start our Bible study and one of the pastors had not shown up yet. I don’t remember which one of the pastors, he was one of the older pastors. We were all sitting there with our Bible and I said, does anybody know where and I said his name. Instantly, one of the pastors sitting right there said oh, he’s still having his coffee at Hooters. Now, if you don’t know what Hooters is, it’s a bar where girls wear swimming suits and are evocative in the way they dress. Of course, no pastor, no Christian should go there and certainly no pastor should go there. Everyone around the table just started laughing and laughing just as this pastor walks through the door. They all were snickering and laughing and sat down. I didn’t say anything and I, after a minute I turned and looked at him, the pastor said the joke. I said, could we all open our Bibles now, as you introduce our topic this morning. He smiled, he not only had said something that made everybody laugh, but now he was the focus of our Bible study. I said, let’s all turn to Ephesians 5:4. So look down now at your slide. I looked at him and I said, could you read Ephesians 5:4? He read “neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor course jesting, which is not fitting, but rather giving thanks.” I don’t need to tell you that was a moment none of those staff pastors ever forgot. Why? Because we forget that we’re never supposed to surrender our tongue as a tool of the devil. It was a joke because everyone knew that pastor would never go to that bar. But that’s called foolish talking, coarse talking, jesting. It’s foolish. It’s surrendering our tongue to the devil. Don’t ever allow Satan to captivate your tongue to harm someone else but most of all, displease the one who wants to delight in our talking.
Back down to the sides, Ephesians 5:6, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.” Don’t have empty words.
5:11 “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.” We’re supposed to use our words to expose. Verse 12, “it is shameful to even speak of those things which are done by them in secret.”
5:19 says, but “speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God, the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” My mouth is going to be so full of giving thanks and praise that doesn’t have room for course, foolish, jesting, or complaining.
God says in chapter 6, verse 9. “And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening.” If you’re in any kind of leadership position, if you’re a parent, if you’re a boss, if you’re any kind of team leader, don’t threaten people. Knowing you have a “Master also in Heaven, and there’s no partiality with Him.”
The next one is 6:19 of Ephesians and it says this, it was a prayer. Paul says for me, Paul, “that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I’m an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” Look up from your slides. That’s what God wants from us. We’re supposed to be His ambassador and every time we open our mouth; I’m speaking on behalf of God. I’m His ambassador and 6:19 says, I want to speak boldly. I want to open my mouth in the power of the Holy Spirit. I want to be known as God’s ambassador.
When I lived in Los Angeles, on staff with Dr. MacArthur, the Los Angeles times newspaper used to call Grace Community Church office, the receptionist and say, could you find out from Dr. MacArthur what God has to say about whatever the current issue was? What they were asking is, does the Bible speak to what’s going on in our culture? They knew that Dr. MacArthur was connected to God and they want to know what God had to say. Is that what people think about you? Are you His ambassador? That’s what we can start being today.
One last thing before we go. Next slide, spiritual maturity in James, this is tied to your talking. Do you remember the outline of James?
- Spiritual babies are impatient, number one.
- Number two, spiritual babies are quick to talk, but slow to live the truth.
- Number three, spiritual babies have an out of control tongue.
Next slide, Satan’s goal is to infect your communication. James 3:15-16 says that.
This is the answer and the solution, the next slide. The Bible tells us in Isaiah 6, let Jesus clean your mouth. Isaiah heard the Lord say, who will go? And for me? And who is going to be my servant? He said, I’d like to go, but I’m a man of unclean lips. The Lord said, I’ll solve that. He asked an angel, a Serif to come with tongs to the altar, which spoke of the work of Christ, the redemption, the sin offering. He took tongues, got a hot coal, and touched Isaiah’s tongue. Isaiah became the prophet that Jesus most used and quoted in His ministry. Did you know that Jesus’ favorite book of the Bible was by the man that had the dirty mouth, that God cleansed?
That’s what He wants to do with us. Jesus wants to heal your communication. He wants us to think first. He wants us to talk less. He wants to clean us up and energize us for Him so that we can speak life. That’s the power of spoken words.
Let’s bow for prayer.
Father, I thank you for this journey we’ve taken together through the book of Proverbs. I pray it would just be the beginning of a lifelong love for your wisdom distilled in Proverbs. I pray some of these students would start reading Proverbs every day, but I pray that we would get your wisdom from above and that wisdom would show up in our lives as we speak life, your words of life, your way. I pray you’d also bless us as we look at all these other elements of wisdom. That we wouldn’t just hear them, and we wouldn’t just read them, but that we would stop and surrender to you and ask you to accomplish what you promised in your word in our lives, because we want to live life your way. In the name of Jesus we ask for this. And all God’s people said, Amen.
God bless you. Thanks for joining this class.