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A Time to Keep Silence

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“A Time to Keep Silence, and a Time to Speak”

Ecclesiastes 3:7

Some of the various forms of communication that we may be used to:  a)speak your mind with no intent to love hearers, b)communicate anything but what you’re truly thinking – leave hearers guessing, c)rarely communicate anything directly until it comes out with so much emotion that it’s nearly impossible to receive.

Speech in the church (among believers) should sound different than natural human speech or the speech of the world. Why?  1) Because believers are no longer natural II Cor 5:17, 2) because believers want to please God with their speech I Cor 5:9, 3) because believers want to serve each other with their speech Eph 4:29.

Two particular communication issues I want to explore the Scriptures on this morning are gossip, and transparency.

Gossip – sharing negative information about another unnecessarily (when not Biblically required to do so).  That which often passes for news, and that which has TV programs, magazines, and internet sites devoted to it.

Transparency –willing surrender of potentially damaging personal information.  Biblical ideas of confession, open rebuke, church wide restorative discipline, exhortation.

Where gossip is present, transparency will be severely hindered. 

I. Gossip

A.      Further Defined

a.       Proverbs 11:13a revealing what should not be revealed

b.      Proverbs 11:13b failing to conceal what should be concealed, lack of faithfulness

B.      Why it happens

a.       Proverbs 18:8 1st –because it has customers. A delicacy – not everyone gets in on it

b.      For ladies – perhaps because it counterfeits relationship

                                                                           i.      counterfeit in same way adultery is – you think you’re getting something, but ludicrous to think lust will satisfy or be satisfied

                                                                         ii.      counterfeit because we’re discussing intimate matters, but not about ourselves

c.        men – boost own ego (so natural to compare ourselves – if I see a strength you have – it’s easier to dismiss it by pointing out your faults, than be challenged to grow and change myself)

C.      Special warning to ladies

a.       Some specific passages to you: I Tim 3:11; I Tim 5:13; Titus 2:3

b.      Could be because ladies communicate more

                                                                           i.      This is not bad – relationship comes through communication (ex. God’s word)

                                                                         ii.      This requires extra attention (Prov 10:19; Ps 141:3; Eph 4:29)

D.      Biblical remedy

a.       Find satisfaction in Christ alone (relationship, identity, purpose)

b.      Truly repent (Confess, ask forgiveness, make restitution)

c.       Intentionally speak edifying words (start w/ people you’ve slandered most – encourage, thank, point out God’s grace in their lives to others)

II. Transparency

A.      What it looks like

a.       I Corinthians 12:20-26 – Biblical interdependence, real relationship – we are close enough that you know when I’m weeping, and weep with me – I know when you’re rejoicing and rejoice with you

b.      Its love filled, honest communication – with the intent of promoting Christ-likeness.  It’s wanting to be like Jesus so much – I invite rebuke “let the righteous..” PS 141:5 It’s believing that there is no greater good for the people sitting around you than to be more like Jesus, and believing the greatest love for them is helping them to that end.

B.      Why it’s important

a.       God is staking His reputation on it – John 13:34-35; 15:8

b.      This is how God has chosen for us to become more like Christ.  Eph 4:16, 11-16,25

C.      Why it’s difficult to achieve

a.       Fear: -if you really know me, you won’t like me; if you really know me, you will hurt me; if I tell you what’s really in me, you won’t understand me; if I tell you things that are important to me, you won’t handle them with care; if I show you my weaknesses, you’ll use them against me; if I show you my problems; you’ll share them with others  Prov 29:25

b.      Pride:  if I have deceived myself into thinking I am something when I am nothing, or thinking of myself more highly than I ought; calculated isolation is my only defense against exposure.  Prov 18:1  we’ve all developed habits of camouflage if a conversation moves to personal (some joke and laugh, some change the subject, some get critical of the one who is ‘intruding’, some stop talking, some chatter without stopping)

D.      How to cultivate it

a.       Cast out fear with love I John 4:18 – for love of God and a real relationship: communicate in a meaningful way with other believers.  Start inviting the inspection of others.  Cash in your pride for the joy of growth into His image and genuine spiritual fellowship

b.      Handle the juicy details of someone else’s life as if you were handling an internal organ.

c.       Prepare to react with faith and love to failures going both ways.  We will undoubtedly betray another’s trust in this endeavor, and we will undoubtedly feel our trust has been betrayed at times.  Jesus is more important.  A church that reflects Him is more important.  Trust Him, love others.

Action: Repent of gossip, purpose to increase encouraging words about others until there is no spare time for gossip (if this past week you did not say one edifying thing about another person, plan for 1 each day this week), take the risk of transparency – husbands & wives, in the church – plan to share a transparent testimony or prayer request.

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