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Friendly Fire

Tactical Grace  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Mission and Vision

Friendly Fire

Read Ephesians 4:29-32
Ephesians 4:29–32 ESV
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. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
So we’ve been talking about Tactical Grace… say Tactical Grace
We’ve been discussing how we as believers are supposed to be responding to the Grace of God that has been given to us by living the grace filled life.
That life is one that extends grace to others in order to draw them into the grace of God
Last week we had a homework assignment… to go and start a conversation with someone who you have no reason to get along with. Just to find out about them.
This was to experience and share some of that incarnational grace or what I called the special forces type of grace
If you didn’t do it last week… guess what… there’s grace for that too. Make it a choice to get it done this week
How many of you know what Friendly Fire is?
Just in case you don’t, just know there’s nothing friendly about it
It’s when someone shoots a member of their own allied force
There are a lot of situations where this has happened in war
People get confused in the midst of the battle and start firing at the wrong people
Maybe one group is not in the place they were supposed to be so they are mistaken as an enemy
There’s this really powerful scene in the movie Born on the 4th of July where Tom Cruise’s character is a vietnam war vet and he’s sitting in the home of a family telling them that he believes he was the one who accidentally killed their son.
He says he was afraid and confused and just started firing.
This grieves the widow and the parents of this poor boy who was killed in action by a member of his own side.
If we take this analogy and apply it to the church… since we are the church militant… there is some sad truth to the fact that a lot of people experience friendly fire
We see what people call church hurt
People in the church back-biting, slandering, hating, denigrating others
And we see that people who are meant to be our allies are damaged
They experience friendly fire
Let’s go to the text
Paul is talking to the church in ephasus.
Port city, wealthy, metropolitan, diverse
Paul is giving them insight in this section about how to live out this new life
Remember Paul has reiterated to them and us the truth that we were once dead and God by his grace has made us alive in Christ
We are now new creations
WE are now supposed to live out this new identity in the midst of this crazy world
We are supposed to be shining our lights in the darkness extending the Grace of God to those who need the same salvation that we have
This passage Is directed to the church in regards to how they deal with each other
He says in 29 let no currupting talk come out of your mouths
So that word corrupting also means bad, rotten, decayed, having no value, harmful, unwholesome, foul, offensive
Paul is telling us that we, as those who have recieved this new life by grace through faith, are supposed to be living our lives not allowing any rotten talk to come out of our mouths
So here is where we have the excuses start in our mind right
“That wasn’t corrupting or bad… I was just telling it like it is.
I was just being honest… I was just being real… I was just saying
So let’s go a little further and see if Paul explains about those rotten words
he says only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that iit may give grace to those who hear.
Remember grace is unmerited favor
That means those who hear don’t necessarily deserve for you to be building them up right
They don’t necessarily deserve the favor that you show them
But he says that the things that we say should be to build others up
You may be able to justify something you said as a truth or a moment of being real with someone… but did what you say build anyone up?
Skipping 30, we’ll come back to it
31 says let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander be put away from you… along with malice
Paul is showing us right here ways we engage in freindly fire
Ways that we tear down our allies
We do this by speaking bitterness, wrath - that is punishment for someone’s wrongs
anger, clamor, slander…
We tear others down. We speak unbridled words
We speak without love and without grace
You’ve heard me say it time and time again… no one really cares that much about your opinion
9/10 times you are shouting into the win or preaching to the choir
So badmouthing people, yelling at people, denigrating and slandering people… these are all ways that we end up attacking those who God has given us to extend grace toward
And I know someone is thinking… it’s so hard to extend grace to this person. You just don’t get how crazy they make me.
Well if it were easy to do then it wouldn’t be grace
If this came naturally then the Lord wouldn’t have given us so many verses about how we are supposed to bridle our mouths in light of our identity in Christ
Proverbs 18:21
Proverbs 18:21 ESV
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.
James 1:26
James 1:26 ESV
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.
Matthew 12:36
Matthew 12:36 ESV
I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,
Colossians 4:6
Colossians 4:6 ESV
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
The way you speak to other… and yes that includes the memes you share, the messages you send, the status’ you post
That matters to God.
God gave us the power of life and death in our tongue
We are able to utilize our words to tear down strongholds, to speak life-giving encouragement to those who are lost and dying
WE are able to share kidness, and compassion, and forgiveness because we have experienced the grace of God
Because he has changed us and transformed us we don’t need to argue with people and put others down and live in fear of other that causes us to badmouth our allies
But what if they don’t believe in Jesus or they are being mean to me
We don’t battle against flesh and blood but against the powers of darkeness
THerefore any other person can be an ally. You don’t know what Jesus is doing in thier life and if he’s speaking kindness through you in order to reach them
Other people are never our enemy. We don’t let the bitterness of this world turn us into agents of the enemy trying to destroy other people
V30 in doing so, we grieve the Holy Spirit of God
I’ve heard this verse, don’t grieve the Spirit, but I’ve never heard it taught in the context of how you treat others and how you speak to others
It grieves the Spirit to see his children hurting each other
It grieves God to see that we are using our words to kill the joy in others life
To kill the hope in others life
to kill the beauty that he created in others
He tells us to be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgivien one another as Godi n Christ forgave you
This is how we share our tactical grace
Going back to the verse I mentioned in colossians
Our speech needs to be seasoned with grace
That is unmerited favor
that means we don’t speak negatively about people
We don’t disparage others
We speak with compassion and love and tenderheartedness
That is a grace that will shine in this age… especially in the midst of this political season
There is no room in the Christian walk for meanness. There is no room for it. You have been saved by the grace of God. THis is not of your own works.
You can’t get down on anyone else… everything you have…your eternal salvation is a gift
So your homework this week is doing some self-evaluation
Question why you are saying or typing what you are?
Are your words to prove someone wrong?
Are your words to defeat someone else’s arguement?
Are your words building the one up who hears them?
Once we begin to allow the Grace of God to season our words we will be speaking with a grace that reaches beyond the moment. That’s tactical grace
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