Our words are an important part of our lives and should be used to build up and encourage others in the things of God. May God help us to guard our tongue and only speak would He would speak! James 3:6, “The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.”
“17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed. 20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.
22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.
29 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. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
5:1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. 3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be partners with them.
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
HOW YOU TALK MATTERS!
Ephesians 4:29 (NIV), “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.”
(NLT), “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”
- NO UNWHOLESOME TALK: Avoid curse words and destructive speech.
- EDIFYING SPEECH: Our words should help others and build them up in the things of God.
- BENEFIT THOSE WHO LISTEN: Our words also must be beneficial for all those who hear them (1 Peter 4:11).
PUT OFF, PUT ON
- Put off unwholesome words, put on edifying words (4:29).
- Put off slander, put on prayer and compliments (4:31).
- Put off obscenity, put on purity (5:4).
- Put off foolish talk, put on wisdom (5:4).
- Put off course joking, put on a holy sense of humor (5:4).
- Put off insincerity, put on rebukes (5:11).
- Put off disgusting-sinful conversations, put on beauty in your speech (5:12).
- Put off speaking death, put on speaking life (5:14).
- Put off complaining, put on singing praise and thanksgiving (5:19-20).
JESUS WILL JUDGE YOUR WORDS!
Matthew 12:33-37, “33 Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 35 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
- THE BIBLE’S USAGE OF EXTREME LANGUAGE: Jeremiah 2:23-24, Ezekiel 23:19-20, Matthew 23:15-36, Galatians 3:1, James 4:4 & Revelation 2:20.
- THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN OBJECTIVE VS. SUBJECTIVE & ABSOLUTE VS. RELATIVE MORALITY: “The opposite of “objective” is “subjective.” The opposite of “absolute” is “relative.” Now very little reflection is needed to see that “relative” does not mean “subjective.” Just because one’s moral duties are relative to one’s circumstances doesn’t in any way imply that they are subjective, that there is not an objectively right or wrong thing to do in such a situation. So the distinction objective/subjective is not the same as absolute/relative. “Absolute” means “regardless of the circumstances.” “Relative” means “varying with the circumstances.” We can agree, for example, that it is not absolutely wrong to kill another person. In some circumstances killing another person may be morally justified and even obligatory. To affirm that one’s moral duty varies with the circumstances is not to say that we have no objective moral duties to fulfill. “Objective” means “independent of people’s (including one’s own) opinion.” “Subjective” means “just a matter of personal opinion.” If we do have objective moral duties, then in the various circumstances in which we find ourselves we are obligated or forbidden to do various actions, regardless of what we think.” (Dr. William Lane Craig)
- APPLICATION: How we use words in varying circumstances will be judged by Jesus’ objective standard of “wholesome and edifying speech.”
Proverbs 18:21, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”