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Training Our Tongues to Work God's Way
Ephesians 4:25-32
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - March 16, 2014
*Do you ever have a problem with your tongue?
Sometimes we do.
You might have said:
-"It wasn't me!" "I didn't do it."
"Did you hear about . . .
?" "Don't repeat this, but . .
-"I probably shouldn't say this, but . .
." "I'm feeling under the weather today, so I won't be in to work."
"I'm going to be working late tonight."
"I hate you!" "Shut up!" "Can't you do anything right?"
"I can't stand them."
"You idiot."
*We can have all kinds of problems with our tongues, and sometimes we do.
But Christians, we can do better.
By God's grace we can start new habits in our speech.
We can train our tongues to work God's way.
Let's look into His Word and see what God wants us to do.
1. First: Establish credibility with an honest tongue.
*God wants us to have honest tongues.
We see this truth in vs. 25, where Paul said: "Therefore, putting away lying, each one speak truth with his neighbor, for we are members of one another."
*Don't lie.
It's one of the Ten Commandments, and it's one of the first Commandments we break: "He hit me first!" "She started it!"
"I didn't break it."
*Gary Huckaby tells about the time he caught his little girl eating jelly out of the jar.
Little Nikki was about four years old at the time.
And Dad asked her, "Nikki, are you eating out of the jelly jar?" "No sir," she answered.
*"Are you sure you are not eating out of the jelly jar?" Church, she had jelly all over her face, on her fingers, and even in her hair!
But again she said, "No sir, I'm not eating jelly out of the jar." (1)
*We learn to lie at a very young age.
And it turns out that dishonesty is a very serious problem.
It's serious because all relationships are built on trust, and trust is destroyed by lies.
Thank God that trust can be rebuilt over time!
But no wonder God made being honest one of His Ten Commandments.
"Therefore, putting away lying, each one speak truth with his neighbor, for we are members of one another."
*God wants us to establish credibility with an honest tongue.
He also wants us to eliminate the trash.
*Eliminate the trashy talk.
Take out the trash.
As we see in vs. 29: "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers."
That word "corrupt" means worthless and rotten.
*Then, vs. 31 says, "Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice."
The "evil speaking" there is where we get our word "blasphemy."
But this kind of evil, abusive language can be against both people and God.
*God says, "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth."
"Let all evil speaking be put away from you."
Take out the trash, -- like cussing.
*How long has it been since you said a cuss word?
I almost never hear people cuss, because most people just don't cuss around the preacher.
But sometimes Christians do fall into the bad habit of cussing.
And that's a problem, because it disguises who we are as believers.
People need to see Christ in us the hope of glory.
But they probably won't, if we have a foul mouth.
*Well, you may not have cussed in 30 years, but what about gossip?
-- Uh oh.
*Paul warned Timothy about some of the women who were in danger of gossiping.
1 Timothy 5:13 in the New Living Translation tells us that they were likely to "spend their time gossiping from house to house, getting into other people's business and saying things they shouldn't."
*What about murmuring and complaining all the time?
Jude 1:16 warns us about corrupt teachers who complained all the time.
The Living Bible says: "These men are constant gripers, never satisfied, doing whatever evil they feel like; they are loudmouthed "show-offs," and when they show respect for others, it is only to get something from them in return."
*But God says, "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth."
"Let all evil speaking be put away from you."
The idea is to pick it up and throw it away.
Take out the trash.
And Christian, if you need some help getting started, think back to the fact that people don't cuss around the preacher.
*Pastor Robert Morgan used that fact to help a 16-year-old stop cussing.
The young man had been in a lot of trouble, but he was a new Christian.
And Robert said: "Nothing has pleased me more than watching him grow in the Lord.
He has been reading his Bible each day, praying, witnessing, and trying to clean up his old habits.
The one he's had the most trouble with has been his profanity.
*The other day as I visited with him, he brought up his cussing.
Every once in a while, he admitted, a profane word flies out of his mouth.
'Give me an example,' I told him.
'Go ahead and cuss for me.'
He seemed shocked that I would suggest such a thing, but I insisted.
'Let 'er fly,' I told him.
*I can't do that,' he replied with embarrassment.
'Sure you can.
Go ahead and let loose.' 'I'm not going to do it,' he said.
-- 'I can't.'
*I kept pressing him, but when I saw that I couldn't get a single cuss word out of him, I asked him why he was being so stubborn about it.
'Why are you refusing to do what I ask?' -- 'Because you're my pastor,' he said.
'I can't cuss in front of you.'"
*Then Pastor Robert asked him: "If you're ashamed to cuss in my presence, why is it that you aren't ashamed to cuss in the Lord's presence?
He is always with you.
He's always present at your side."
Robert finished by saying, "That young man hasn't cussed since."
*If you want some help taking out the trash, consciously focus on the fact that Jesus Christ is right there with you.
That ought to help.
Whether it's cussing, gossip, complaining or something else, God wants us to eliminate the trashy talk.
He also wants us to start encouraging other people.
*Verse 29 says, "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification. .
*"Edification" there means "building people up."
So the NIV says, "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."
The New Living Translation says: "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."
*God wants us to use our tongues to encourage and build each other up.
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