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Christian Communication and the Holy Spirit

New Life in Christ: A study in Ephesians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Word problems reveal heart problems. The people and situations around us do not make us say what we say; they are only the occasion for our hearts to reveal themselves in word.—Paul David Tripp in War of Words: Getting to the Heart of Your CommiunicationStruggles. p55.
Power tools are wonderful modern inventions. Whether you’re using a chainsaw to cut down a dead tree, a washing machine to clean your clothes, or an impact driver to put together a ping-pong table, the efficiency and comparative ease of power tools make everyday life better. But things can also go terribly wrong. Broken equipment, carelessness, and accidents quickly turn amazing tools into frustrating problems or even dangerous weapons.
One of the most powerful tools that God has given to influence one another in the church is the tongue. We can use good words to minister grace to fellow believers, or we can grieve the Holy Spirit with evil worlds. Paul presents two prohibitions concerning the way we communicate. First of all, our words must not be harmful; secondly, the Holy Spirit must not be grieved. Instead, we are exhorted to speak words that dispense grace to build up the church.
Ephesians 4:29–30 AV 1873
29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. 30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
Eph. 4:

No Room for Corrupt Communication

Sinful speech does more to harm the communal life of the church than all the sins previously mentioned in this passage. Words that are profane, slanderous, offensive, critical, and divisive will set a negative temperature among believers; therefore, God calls us to a serious restraint of the tongue. We can permit nothing to proceed from our mouths that harm the unity of the church.
James 3:2 AV 1873
2 For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.

What kind of communication is corrupt? What motivation lies behind fleshly words?

Matthew 12:36–37 AV 1873
36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. 37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
In Matthew 12:36-

What does this passage teach about the importance of our words?

Behind this severe restriction lies a deeply spiritual motive going to the very heart of the new man—the permanent residence of the Holy Spirit who indwells the believer. Paul has already stated that the Ephesians were sealed with the Spirit (), a stamping of God’s ownership on us and a securing of our future salvation. The Spirit will dwell in us until glory, so our words and attitudes can bring Him great sorrow. The Spirit of God is never indifferent; we live either grieving or not grieving the Spirit. God can be emotionally disappointed, disturbed, or distressed with His people! When the Spirit is grieved, our inner life is affected with an absence of the manifestation of God’s love, joy and peace. We must keep an attitude of reverence towards the person of the Holy Spirit and avoid all words that would grieve Him. If He is grieved, then His people will lack His blessing.

Privilege of Dispensing God’s Grace

As co-laborers with God’s Spirit, we may take part in the sanctifying process of other believers. Therefore, we must choose words carefully and speak truthfully. Paul has already stated that speaking the truth is one of the first characteristics of the new life. First of all, truth must be spoken with love, a primary agent to build up the church (). If motivated by personal frustration, our lashing out with truth cannot do the hearer good. Secondly, we must speak truth at the appropriate time. Prayer and careful forethought should be given before speaking, so that what we say can have the greatest benefit.
Proverbs 25:11 AV 1873
11 A word fitly spoken Is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.
We must all exercise caution when speaking with one another. Consider the times that we cause pain and sorrow to the Holy Spirit by the things that we say to each other. How many ministries lack God’s blessing primarily because of believers’ speech. How much growth could take place if we were communicating grace through our choice of words? Before speaking we must ask ourselves: Is this true? Can i say it in love? Is this the appropriate time? In this way we can bless one another and please the Holy Spirit.

List five ways in which we can communicate gracious words.

Is the Spirit grieved with the words you speak personally? Are there sins of the tongue you need to repent of and forsake?

Think about and pray for two relationships in which you can turn bad speech into an opportunity to minister God’s grace.

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