Sunday, Sep 11, 2016AM Service
Becoming What We Are (Part 5) - Building Replaces Tearing Down
Speaker: Jerry Wragg
Passage: Ephesians 4:29-30
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We continue our study of Ephesians chapter 4.  Paul tells us in the epistle about the state we are in; we stand in grace; we are justified; we are positionally sanctified; we are set apart unto holiness; we are called saints and therefore he outlines the change that is supposed to be happening in our lives.  In fact, the Spirit of God empowers us for this change.

Today, we are dealing with what comes out of our mouth in Ephesians 4:29-30.  This is one of the most practical and comprehensive works of all in a believer’s life.  If you are in Christ, your speech is to change.  Let’s first look at:

·       James 3:1-2 – As we learn to restrain the tongue, we learn to bridle every other weakness.  Wow, that’s a sweeping impact on the whole body.  There are two things to understand:

1.     Bridling the tongue is a lifetime work.

2.     Our speech is used to announce what is inside our hearts and minds.  Our speech is the queen in the hive of weaknesses.  You kill the queen; you kill the hive.

·       Matthew 12:33-37 (This passage is about speech and the last judgment.)

o   If bad fruit comes out of the mouth, then there is a bad heart at the root.

o   The mouth speaks out what fills the heart.

o   By your words you will be justified and by your words will be condemned.  God tests the heart by the words that we have used.  Good men bring forth what is good.

o   All true believers will be verified by their increasingly good things (words and deeds).

·       Matthew 15:11-20 (This passage describes hard heartedness of unbelief.)

o   The things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, those things defile a man.

 Our speech like no other aspect tells the truth of what’s going on in our hearts. Time and truth go hand in hand, what’s in the heart will come out of the mouth.  Words betray the heart. And, the strength of the tongue is mighty.  The tongue is a small part, but boasts great strength with power to destroy and power to build up.  Scripture must be used to bridle the tongue (James 3:3).  Proverbs 18:21 – Solomon said, the tongue has the power of life and death in it.  Some, ignore the last half of that proverb, but notice, “those who love it, are going to eat its fruit.”

 As we turn to Ephesians 4, Paul writes that if you have learned Christ, your speech needs to start changing.  And in verses 29 to 30, Paul teaches us that BUILDING REPLACES TEARING DOWN.  Let’s consider what this passage teaches; there are four ways to guard our speech:

1.     Be Concerned About Your Words (not explicit in the text, but definitely heavily implied)

o   Learning Christ requires choosing words skillfully and carefully.

o   Practice choosing words carefully; we must watch over our thoughts and attitudes.

o   Proverbs 4:23 – Everything is heart related; guard your thoughts with intense diligence.  Everything comes back to the corruption that is in our hearts.

o   Words seem to be nothing and are easily thought of as not important.  But lightly thought things go down the slippery slope toward sin, easily.

2.     Be HIGHLY Restrained with Your Words

o   Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth – the term is that which is rotten.  The hearer would think about the decaying fish on the dock – putrid things.

o   These are the words that contribute to relational destruction and good moral things.

o   Ephesians 5:3 – No immorality shall even be named among you.  Edgy, questionable, and salacious speech should have no hint in a Christian’s life.

                                               i.     Filthiness – salacious speech

                                             ii.     Silly talk – twisted humor that deceives people to their harm

                                            iii.     Course jesting – speech that promotes the things of the world.

o   Additional passages:

                                               i.     Proverbs 10:19 – Where there are many words sin is unavoidable, he who restrains his lips is wise.

                                             ii.     Proverbs 17:28, Proverbs 29:20, Proverbs 4:29

o   Examine our use of social media outlets and the way we share our speech.  We need much greater self-control in these environments.

3.     Build with Your Words

o   Verse 29b, use only those words which are good for edification according to the need of the moment, giving grace to those who hear.  How do we do this?

                                               i.     Edifying words:  Building has to be the opposite of rottenness.  Are you using words that are tearing down?  Building words grow things; they are selfless, purifying, they bless and heal.

                                             ii.     Timely words: These are words concerned for the other person’s most important need.  We must consider if we are the person to bring those words or is someone else better suited to be God’s instrument?  We must consider if our words will match our example.  If we are a hypocrite, our words will be empty.

                                            iii.     Grace-filled words: 

§  Reflect the grace of God given to us by Christ in our salvation

§  Promote and advance the grace of God so the gospel truth goes forward in our speech

§  Extol the grace of God and shine it brightly.

o   Colossians 4:6 – the parallel text.  Let your speech always be seasoned and grace-filled, while extolling the gospel.

4.     Worship with Your Words

o   Paul nails it down for us; every member of the trinity is a distinct personality and has distinct personhood, including the Holy Spirit.

o   Verse 30 puts one of the distinctive characteristics of the Holy Spirit in sharp focus.  He deserves honor and He deserves worship.  He wants holy things for us and He wants us to control our speech, but with our speech we can cause Him personal grief.

o   Isaiah 63:10 – The Holy Spirit was grieved by the rebellion of Israel and the Holy Spirit Himself turned to become their enemy and He fought against them.

                                               i.     We are saved to be righteous and declared as such, but unwholesome speech betrays our salvation.

                                             ii.     We are saved to love, but unloving speech betrays our regeneration.

                                            iii.     We have been sealed in our salvation to belong to God’s family, but our destructive speech betrays our adoption.

                                            iv.     We are sealed unto the day of redemption, but rotting speech betrays our eternal hope.