January 24, 2018
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
Once again, here is our featured Scripture, Ephesians 4:22 through 24:
…put off concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows cor-
rupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your
mind, and…put on the new man which was created according to God, in
righteousness and true holiness.
The one called by God to put his or her faith in Jesus Christ is then instructed to “…put off…the old man….and……put on the new man…” (Ephesians 4:22 and 24). In other words, put down the corrupt human nature with its sinful works, and build up the Godly nature! Starting with Ephesians 4:25, Paul then gives specifics of what a believer in Christ is to do. In the last two blogs, we have examined the first five things to characterize a Christian’s life – verses 25 through 28. So let’s continue with…
• Ephesians 4:29 – “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth….” Now this is a challenge for a lot of Christians! Just what is considered corrupt communication?
✞ In the next chapter, Ephesians 5:3 and 4, Paul expands on one aspect of this: “…filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting…let it not even be named among you….”
▸ filthiness – “shamefulness, that is, obscenity…” (Strong’s Greek Dictionary).
▸ foolish talking – “silly talk, that is, buffoonery…” (Ibid.)
▸ coarse jesting – “well-turned, that is, ready at repartee, jocose…witticism, that is, (in a vulgar sense) ribaldry…” (Ibid.)
✞ Another idea of corrupt communication would be gossip! Leviticus 19:16 says, “You shall not go about as a talebearer among your people….” (See also Proverbs 11:13; 18:8; 20:19). Paul told Timothy to be careful as a pastor concerning the church helping widows. The younger widows especially, he warned in I Timothy 5:13, are learning “…to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not.” Dawson McAllister, Christian Talk Radio host and originator of the off-air “let’s talk” TheHopeLine® writes this in his blog, The Danger Of Gossip: “The most dangerous part about gossip is that it steals another person’s reputation. A reputation is very fragile. When you gossip, you are helping to destroy something extremely valuable.”
✞ Steven J. Cole, pastor of Flagstaff Christian Fellowship, on the website Bible.org, offers in Lesson 35: Transformed Talk, twelve examples of ‘rotten speech’
▸ Name-calling, put-downs, & trading insult for insult (see I Peter 3:9).
▸ Inaccurate labeling – tearing others down by lumping them with a negative group (see I Corinthians 15:33).
▸ Sarcasm, ridicule, mockery – used positively only with extreme caution (see I Kings 18:27; Matthew 23).
▸ Blaming (see Genesis 3:11-13), exaggerated attacks – “You always…” or “You never….”
▸ Destructive criticism – given to vent, not to help or heal (see Proverbs 12:18).
▸ Angry words, including threats and revenge – domination or control through fear and intimidation (see Matthew 20:25 – English Standard Version).
▸ Arguments where you seek to win so as to maintain power – your aim should never be just to win the argument (see John 9:24-34).
▸ Deception, lies, and manipulative speech – Paul covered this in Ephesians 4:25.
▸ Gossip and slander (see the preceding ✞ symbol above).
▸ Profanity – desecrates God and/or His creation (see Exodus 20:7).
▸ Filthy talk and coarse jokes – Paul expounds more on this in Ephesians 5:3 and 4 above.
We would do well to remember what James has written in his epistle – James 3:5, 6, 8, 9, and 10:
…the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a
forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The
tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets
on fire the course of nature, and it is set on fire by hell….no man can tame
the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our
God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the
similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing.
My brethren, these things ought not to be so.
• Ephesians 4:29 – “Let…proceed out of your mouth…what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” What is good? That which builds another up in his or her faith!
✞ We are to teach one another the Christian faith – especially if God has gifted you as a teacher! (See Ephesians 4:11, 12; Hebrews 5:12).
✞ We are to compliment one another for jobs well done! Jesus will say just that to some of God’s children at the judgment of believers (see I Corinthians 3:11-15). The fondest dream I have is to hear Him say to me, “Well done, good and faithful servant….” (Matthew 25:21).
✞ We are to encourage one another in the faith! Hebrews 10:24 (Contemporary English Version) tells us, “We should keep on encouraging each other to be thoughtful and to do helpful things.”
✞ We are also to challenge one another if a brother or sister is sinning against God! Here is what Leviticus 19:17 says (Modern King James Version): “You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall always rebuke your neighbor, and not allow sin on him.”
Be careful to use your tongue for good, and not for evil purposes!