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Wisdom in Our Words

Proverbs: God's Wisdom for Living  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Intro Video

We should never underestimate the power of words!

Introduction

Introduction

We should never underestimate the power of words!
Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and humble.” (a secular Doctor)
Hitler’s Political Manifesto (Mein Kampf) “My Struggle”

“A formidable power dwells within each of us. The power to change the course of nations. It’s capable of starting and ending wars. And it has made men rich and women famous. It has the means to commend or corrupt—to bless or to blame. It is the power of the tongue.” Tony Evans

Tony Evans

Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address (November 19, 1863) “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”
100 years later on August 28, 1963 Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I have a dream” speech which capsulated the Civil Rights movement
Solomon was right when he said:
Proverbs 18:21 ESV
21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.
Consider what James says about the tongue:
James 3:5–8 ESV
5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
This is what we said at the beginning of this series:
Proverbs are highly compressed, carefully chosen words of wisdom that have been skillfully crafted to stick in our minds so that our behavior changes.
Today we’re going to learn how the Wisdom of Proverbs should affect our Words …

1. Words are an Awesome Gift from God That Can Give Life

The images in Proverbs for human speech teach us about this divine gift that we not only sometimes take for granted but also waste and abuse.
Wise words are compared to gold and silver:
Proverbs 10:20 ESV
20 The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; the heart of the wicked is of little worth.
Proverbs 25:11–12 ESV
11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. 12 Like a gold ring or an ornament of gold is a wise reprover to a listening ear.
Words are also like refreshing water:
Proverbs 10:11 NLT
11 The words of the godly are a life-giving fountain; the words of the wicked conceal violent intentions.
Proverbs 18:4 NLT
4 Wise words are like deep waters; wisdom flows from the wise like a bubbling brook.
Right words are like nourishing, health giving food:
Proverbs 15:4 ESV
4 A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.
The phrase “tree of life” means “source of life”
Proverbs 16:24 NIV
24 Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
prov 16.24
Psalm 119:103 ESV
103 How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Words have POWER!
Proverbs 12:18 NIV
18 The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Our words can “pierce” or they can bring “healing”
Consider the power of God’s Words:
Hebrews 11:3 ESV
3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
Genesis 1:11 ESV
11 And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so.
Genesis 1:20 ESV
20 And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.”
Genesis 1:24 ESV
24 And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so.
gen 1.24
Genesis 1:26 ESV
26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
Consider how Jesus used His words productively, especially the authority of His words over sickness and disease:
Mark 1:24 ESV
24 “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.”
Mark 1:42 ESV
42 And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.
Mark 1:41 ESV
41 Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.”
Mark 1:41–42 ESV
41 Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” 42 And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.
Mark 1:23–25 ESV
23 And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, 24 “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.” 25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!”
Mark 1:23–26 ESV
23 And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, 24 “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.” 25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” 26 And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him.
mark 1.41
Mark 1:25 ESV
25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!”
Mark 1:26 ESV
26 And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him.
In Jesus heals a deaf man who had a speech impediment:
Mark 7:33–35 ESV
33 And taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue. 34 And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” 35 And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly.
Mark 7.
The Christian who recognizes how awesome the gift of speech is will not abuse it but rather dedicate their words to the Glory of God!
“encourage one another” = Build one another up
Hebrews 3:12 ESV
12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.
Hebrews 3:13 ESV
13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
“Exhort” - to console, encourage, comfort, admonish, beg, instruct.

2. Words Can Be Used for Good, Which Produces Life

Proverbs 15:1 ESV
1 A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
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Ephesians 4:29 ESV
29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
Colossians 4:6 ESV
6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

2. Words Can Be Used For Evil, Which Produces Death

We can hurt others by gossiping
Leviticus 19:16 NIV
16 “ ‘Do not go about spreading slander among your people. “ ‘Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. I am the Lord.
Proverbs 11:13 NLT
13 A gossip goes around telling secrets, but those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence.
Proverbs 20:19 ESV
19 Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler.
Proverbs teaches us that the gossip “eats” and enjoys his secrets like you and I eat and enjoy food:
Proverbs 18:8 NIV
8 The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts.
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Proverbs 26:22 ESV
22 The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body.
We can hurt others with our reckless words:
Proverbs 12:18 NIV
18 The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
The imagery here is someone with swords who’s not even paying attention, just swinging the swords around, regardless of who’s around.
We can hurt others with talking too much:
Proverbs 10:19 ESV
19 When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.
Proverbs 15:2 NIV
2 The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.
James teaches people who discipline their tongues can control their whole bodies ().
Ecclesiastes (3:7) states that there is “a time to keep silence, and a time to speak”.
Illustration: Mom teaching her child about the power of her words with a tube of toothpaste

3. Only God Can Help Us To Change Our Tune

All words come from the heart.
Matthew 12:34 ESV
34 You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
So it turns out, when mom washed your mouth out with soap, it didn’t fix the deeper problem. Only God can help you with that!
The words you speak will all depend on what’s filling your heart.
Luke 6:45 ESV
45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
Critical heart = critical tongue
Self righteous heart = judgmental tongue
Ungrateful heart = grumbling tongue
A loving heart produces a gracious tongue.
A faithful heart produces a truthful tongue.
A peaceful heart produces a reconciling tongue.
A trusting heart produces an encouraging tongue.
Fill your heart by soaking in the Word
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Matthew 5 ESV
1 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. 8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. 13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. 17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. 23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. 26 Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny. 27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell. 31 “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. 33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ 34 But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil. 38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
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Psalm 19:14 ESV
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Closing Blessing

From today forward, may your mouth be “a fountain of life” (). May you be “slow to speak” and “slow to anger” (). May you encourage more than you critique. Seek opportunities to speak kind and tenderhearted words, forgiving one another (). May you speak words of affection to those you love and words of affirmation to strangers. Seek to only speak words that are “good for building up”, that “give grace to those who hear” (). And lastly, may you be a person whose mouth is full of life.
Acts 20:32 NIV
32 “Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
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