moving forward: managing your mouth

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Four choices we have to make to manage our mouths. A Bible study of Ephesians 4:29-30. Part 8 of the "Moving Forward" series.

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  • managing your mouth

    Ephesians 4:29-30

    Part 8 of the

    MOVING FORWARD

    series

    Presented on June 19, 2016

    at Calvary Bible Church East

    in Kalamazoo, Michigan

    by

    BRYAN CRADDOCK

  • Calvary Bible Church East

    5495 East Main St

    Kalamazoo, MI 49048

    CalvaryEast.com

    Copyright 2016 by Bryan Craddock

    Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from the

    ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version),

    copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good

    News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

  • 1

    INTRODUCTION: WASHED CLEAN?

    Parenting isnt easy. In desperate moments, even

    the most mild-mannered parents resort to certain

    threats passed down from generation to generation.

    When kids are arguing in the back seat on a road trip,

    they threaten to stop the car, turn around, and go

    home, cancelling vacation. When a child picks up some

    bad words, they threaten to wash their mouth out with

    soap. One time my mom even followed through on that

    one with my little brother. It was a pathetic scene as the

    suds bubbled from his lips, but it didnt work.

  • 2

    It would be convenient if something as simple as a

    little soap would do the job, but controlling our speech

    is a lifelong battle. James 3:7-8 says,

    For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile

    and sea creature, can be tamed and has been

    tamed by mankind, but no human being can

    tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of

    deadly poison.

    Time and again we find ourselves wishing we could

    take back our words. We say things that damage our

    own reputation and wound those we love. We

    desperately need a way to manage our mouth.

    Pauls letter to the Ephesians gives us hope that in

    and through Jesus Christ we really can move forward

    and leave the speech of the old life behind. By Gods

    grace when we trust in Jesus Christ, all of our sins,

    including those of our mouth, are forgiven. God gives

    us new life and begins to transform us through the

    work of His Spirit, but we cannot remain passive. In

    order to grow, we must strive to change how we think

    and then take steps of obedience. In Ephesians 4:29-

    30, Paul gave specific direction regarding our speech.

    He said,

  • 3

    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.

    Pauls words here reveal four choices we must make

    in order to manage our mouths. As we examine these

    choices in more depth, I encourage you to reflect on

    your words. See how you need to change. Believe that

    God will help you, and respond in humble obedience to

    him.

  • 4

    AT A GLANCE

    Choice 1: Speak Select Words ...................................... 5

    Choice 2: Speak Constructive Words........................... 9

    Choice 3: Speak Gods Words .................................... 13

    Choice 4: Speak Pleasing Words................................ 17

    Conclusion .................................................................. 20

    Questions for Further Reflection ............................... 21

  • 5

    CHOICE 1: SPEAK SELECT WORDS

    In a supermarket, most produce appears perfect

    without any blemish or mark. Of course, we dont see

    all the pieces that have been rejected. Fruit that is

    misshapen and diseased doesnt make it to the store

    displays. No one would buy it. Stores have to be

    selective, and we have to exercise the same kind of care

    when it comes to our words. Paul said, let no

    corrupting talk come out of your mouths. We must

    choose to speak select words.

  • 6

    What did Paul have in mind? What is corrupting

    talk? Jesus used that same term in Luke 6:43. He said,

    For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad

    tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own

    fruit. The word bad here is the same word that was

    translated corrupting in Ephesians 4:29. Jesus used it

    to describe diseased fruit that comes from a diseased

    tree. He explained the point of this picture in verse 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.

    So just like Paul, Jesus had speech in mind. He spoke

    of bad trees and their fruit to show that evil words are

    evidence of an evil heart.

    What did Jesus have in mind when he spoke of

    having an evil heart? He gave some examples in Mark

    7:21-22. He said,

    For from within, out of the heart of man,

    come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft,

    murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness,

    deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride,

    foolishness.

  • 7

    Our hearts are infected with all of these sinful thoughts

    and desires, and they come bubbling out in our words.

    So corrupting talk is not just the words that get bleeped

    out. All of our cultures profanity and curse words flow

    from those desires, but corrupting talk also includes

    any statement that gives voice to those thoughts and

    desires. Whenever we express any lustful, covetous, or

    hateful thoughts we are revealing the deep sickness of

    our hearts. Whats worse is that those sick words then

    stir up the sickness in the hearts of those who hear us.

    So what can we do about it? How do we keep from

    saying corrupting words? Real change begins with the

    heart, but as we have seen, our hearts are sick. We need

    new ones. In Ezekiel 36:26-27 God said,

    And I will give you a new heart, and a new

    spirit I will put within you. And I will remove

    the heart of stone from your flesh and give

    you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit

    within you, and cause you to walk in my

    statutes and be careful to obey my rules.

    The ultimate fulfillment of that promise is still to come,

    but we can experience much of that transforming

    power through the work of the Holy Spirit today. Are

    you willing to pray the prayer that David prayed in

  • 8

    Psalm 51:10? He said, Create in me a clean heart, O

    God, and renew a right spirit within me.

    Even when we receive new life, however, the old

    ways of thinking and speaking are still ingrained in us.

    Thats why Paul made this point in Ephesians 4:29. We

    must resolve to change the way that we speak. We have

    to recognize that the words that naturally come to mind

    in a situation, are probably still corrupting words. We

    cannot just vent whatever comes to mind. We have to

    cut off corrupting talk before it reaches our lips. In fact,

    Proverbs 10:19 tells us, When words are many,

    transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his

    lips is prudent. Are you guarding your lips? Speak

    select words.

  • 9

    CHOICE 2: SPEAK CONSTRUCTIVE WORDS

    The same tools you use to build a house can be used

    to tear it down. Building requires thought and

    planning, skill and focus. Building can be a slow

    process, but demolition happens quickly. You dont

    need finesse or an elaborate plan to tear something

    down. You just start breaking things. In fact, even when

    you set out to build, using tools carelessly can do great

    damage. Words are tools. Its not enough to just think

    about what words we say, we also have to think about

    how and when we say them. In Ephesians 4:29, Paul

  • 10

    said, Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths,

    but only such as is good for building up, as fits the

    occasion.

    Paul has already mentioned this idea of building up

    one another twice in Ephesians 4. In verse 12 he spoke

    of how church leaders are to equip the saints for the

    work of ministry so that the body of Christ will be built

    up. Then in verse 16 he spoke of each part in the body

    working to build up the body in love. So Paul was not

    calling for us to be uplifting in some generic sense. He

    wasnt calling us to be cheerleaders. We must each

    speak in a way that builds the church. We must

    encourage one another to grow in our love for God and

    our love for people.

    What is it that makes words constructive? The Old

    Testament book of Proverbs gives us guidance about

    how to speak. Proverbs 12:18 says, There is one whose

    rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the

    wise brings healing. Have you ever been on the

    receiving end of those verbal sword thrusts? Even

    when the words spoken are true, an overly aggressive

    spokesman undermines their effectiveness. His or her

    sword thrusts can put the other person on the

  • 11

    defensive, and that hinders them from hearing the

    message. Proverbs 15:2 says, The tongue of the wise

    commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour

    out folly. In other words, the wise person doesnt just

    speak knowledge. He or she presents that knowledge