Destructive Speech

Destructive Speech 

Daily Reading: (Luke 4:22, Ephesians 4:29):

“All spoke well of Him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from His lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked” (Luke 4:22).

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

The word unwholesome in Ephesians 4:29 actually means rotten, putrid, worthless. Maybe you have heard the expression, that is “rotten of you to say”. Before we speak, we should think about what the purpose is behind what I am about to say. Does it add value? Does it benefit those who listen?

Now let’s look at what was said about Jesus and the words He spoke:

“All spoke well of Him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from His lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked” (Luke 4:22).

Jesus is our example in how we are to build others up according to their needs. You might playback some of Jesus’ words in the New Testament to the Pharisees and think His words didn’t seem to build them up?

Consider the following:

“You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (Matthew 12:34).

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to” (Matthew 23:13).

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are” (Matthew 23:14-15).

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness” (Matthew 23:27).

Jesus said all of that because He is gracious and recognized their need too. He was full of grace and truth and the lives the Pharisees are living are heading them straight toward the path of hell. Their need was salvation, and for them to recognize their own righteousness wasn’t good enough. Love guided Jesus’ actions. Jesus spoke firmly against the deception of Satan out of a desire for people to know truth and find life in Him.

Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount gave us this classic statement: “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, you will certainly not enter the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 5:20).

What always came from Jesus was grace. The definition of grace is that which is for our benefit, favor, gift, it is what strengthens us in faith. It is the exact opposite of putrid, rotten, unwholesome, worthless talk.

What might surprise you is what the people did who had marveled at what Jesus said, how His words are full of grace. “All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. But He walked right through the crowd and went on His way” (Luke 4:28-30).

I want you to know that Jesus gave His life for us. “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father” (John 10:18). The people wanted to kill Jesus and He walked right through the crowd. This is miraculous, one of the miracles of Jesus that no one ever mentions or thinks about. It wasn’t time for Jesus to lay down His life, and so “He walked right through the crowd.”

You know what is really interesting to me is what happened to Jesus before He was in His hometown and the people were amazed at the gracious words, Jesus was first tempted in the wilderness by Satan. What did Jesus do in the Wilderness? He did not merely think about Scripture. He spoke it out loud. He said it is written and quoted Scripture.

In our lives, when we have temptations that come upon us, temptations to be afraid, to worry, to doubt, simply speak out God’s word. By doing so you are receiving His gift of grace, and power to overcome those temptations.

Do you know the words you say can alter the outcome of your situations and in fact, set the direction of your life?

The Bible tells us how the words we speak can open the door to good or evil in our lives. Our words can be grace killers in themselves or usher in our ability to edify others and receive life ourselves. Look at what Proverbs 18:21 says: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” As a believer, every word you utter has tremendous power. With your tongue, you can choose to build (edify) or destroy dreams, heal or break the spirit, bring delight or despair, bless or curse.

We see this principle in action in so many instances in the Bible.

Before they received their miracle child, God changed the names of a childless couple, Abram and Sarai, to Abraham (meaning “father of many nations”) and Sarah (meaning “princess”) just before He told Abraham that from them would come a multitude of nations (Genesis 17:5, 16–17). Abraham and Sarah’s new God-given names caused them to speak faith of what God would do in their lives before He did it. This newfound faith was authored by God in their name change so they might receive God’s promise by faith. It took faith, to introduce yourself as the father of many at age 100 before you have any children.

Somewhere along the way of doing this, Sarah experienced a renewal of youth, her barren womb was resurrected with divine life and conceived the miracle child God had promised them. Our words spoken in line with God’s promises have the power to change our circumstances (Proverbs 18:21, Mark 11:23).

Equipped

Equipped

Daily Reading: (Ephesians 4:12):

“to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.”

It is easy to have moments where we feel that we are lacking something we need in order to accomplish something in our life. When it comes to making disciples, the truth is that you have everything you need to be successful in helping others grow in their faith. We are equipped with spiritual gifts to be used for growing the Kingdom.

“Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12 NLT).

I believe one of the first words that might grab your attention is the words “their responsibility”. It is true that Paul is talking about apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, it’s their responsibility to equip God’s people. But did you know that God’s people are tied into this equipping for something specific and there is something special God has given each and every believer for this?

Let’s back up a few verses and we will discover something about how God works to equip us to be effective at our mission to go and make disciples and also how important it is what ministry you come under.

“However, he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ. That is why the Scriptures say,

‘“When he ascended to the heights, He led a crowd of captives and gave gifts to His people’” (Ephesians 4:7-8).

Paul is writing to the church at Ephesus and he quotes Psalm 68:18 to say that every believer in Jesus has been given a very special gift and the gift you have been given is for you to do God’s work, building up the Body of Christ.

Gift is “charis” in the Greek meaning a gift of grace. In the very giftings you have they are from God. None of us should boast in our abilities because they are God-given and their purpose is to be used to honor God, and build up other people in the Kingdom.

“Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers” (Ephesians 4:11).

Jesus gave the church exactly what the church needed so that the church would be fully equipped which is what verse twelve tells us.So what is interesting is that Jesus has fully equipped the church to fully equip you so that you might “go and make disciples”.You’d be wise to belong to a church that equips you. However, there are many churches that don’t equip God’s people and therefore many churches are not sharing the good news of Jesus with the world.Your responsibility is to receive equipping and then be involved in doing God’s work.

“However, He has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ” (Ephesians 4:7). Who did God give a special gift to? Each one of us through Christ. Every believer has been given a spiritual gift. God’s grace is given out personally. 1 Peter 4:10 says, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” If you are in Christ, you have been equipped with a spiritual gift (Ephesians 4:7), and that gifting can be further built up (Ephesians 4:12), to help others grow in their faith (make disciples).

“He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love” (Ephesians 4:16).

The church is vital to you and you are vital to the church but the “special work” you will do is not your own work. The special work that Paul mentions in verse sixteen is a supernatural power, a power that comes only from God. So, even the amazing things you will be a part of for the building of the body, it is God’s supernatural working power through you.