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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Effective Faith Part 3 - Our Speech

Effective Faith Part 3 – Our Speech
Colossians 4:6


At the end of Colossians, Paul closes his epistle by writing his farewell to the church at Colosse with words of encouragement. Also he gives specific encouragement to people serving in the ministry. Colossians 4 is a combination of exhortation and salutation. He encourages the believers to live holy by having an effective faith that demonstrates the grace of God to all men.
The main theme of these verses is be active and ready in Christ, living with an effective faith that changes peoples live through the Gospel.

Here are the last three commands by Paul regarding our walk, witness, and speech.

They are all key tools for any Christian to have an effective faith in the world:

1. Pray Relentlessly (v.4:2-4)

2. Walk Wisely (v.4:5)

3. Speak Graciously (v.4:6)

Today, we are going to cover the third and final point concerning how to having effective faith by speaking graciously.

Speaking Like Christ
I. Speak Graciously (v.4:6)

Looking at several different translations gives a better rendering of this verse to its true meaning:

“Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” NKJV

“Let your conversation be gracious and effective so that you will have the right answer for everyone.” NLT

“Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out.” MSG

I. Speak Graciously
Colossians 4:6 has two principles concerning our speech as Christians:

1. Speak with propriety- Talk with respect and goodness. (v.4:6a)
2. Speak with purity – Talk without dirty language. (v.4:6b)

1. Speak with Propriety (v.4:6a)

What does it mean to speak with propriety?

Propriety means: “To speak with conformity to established standards of good or proper behavior or manners. IT is having appropriateness, politeness, decency, dignity, moral correctness, civility, , courtesy, etiquette, honesty, love, modesty, respectability, and righteousness.” “Let your speech always be with grace” initially means to speak with propriety [that is godly character].

(v.4:6a) "Let your speech always be with grace" – Paul is encouraging us to speak like Christians who have been transformed by Jesus Christ. Therefore, the way we speak should reflect our faith. Remember, our speech is directed to non-believers and especially believers! Our speech is to always contain grace and goodness to the best of our abilities in order to encourage and respect others in godliness. That means without excuse, we are to walk and talk like as a follower of Jesus Christ. We have to have grace in our hearts (Colossians 3:16), to speak with grace. For out of the heart the mouth speaks!

Question: As Christians, what can we say and what can we not say that is or is not sin?

There is a constant theme throughout the pages of Scripture that talks about how we are to speak. The Scriptures relevantly teach us what we should say and what we should not say to others, specifically as believers in Christ.

First, lets see what the Bible teaches not to say in the Old Testament:
A. (Proverbs 4:24) – “Put away from you a deceitful mouth, And put perverse lips far from you.” Do not use deceiving, lying, manipulative or immoral, ungodly, and offensive language towards others.

B. (Proverbs 10:11) - “The mouth of the righteous is a well of life, But violence covers the mouth of the wicked.” Do not use violent, abusive, and destructive use of language towards others.

C. (Proverbs 10:14) - “The wise accumulate knowledge--a true treasure; know-it-alls talk too much, which is a sheer waste.” [MSG] Do not use gossip, trash-talk, and prideful language to try and sound better and cooler than others.

D. (proverbs 10:31-32) – “The speech of the righteous bears the fruit of wisdom, but the one who speaks perversion will be destroyed. The lips of the righteous know what is pleasing, but the speech of the wicked is perverse.” Do not use profanity, racial and sexual perverse language ever!!!

E. (Proverbs 11:9) – “The hypocrite with his mouth destroys his neighbor, But through knowledge the righteous will be delivered.” Do not use divisive language to put down and make others feel ashamed.

F. (Proverbs 12:13) – “The wicked is ensnared by the transgression of his lips, But the righteous will come through trouble.” Do not use gossip because it will bring you trouble and consequences you cannot escape.

G. (Proverbs 15:4) - ”Wholesome tongue is a tree of life, But perverseness in it breaks the spirit.” Do not break the heart and good spirits of people by making fun of them with a mean attitude.

H. (Proverbs 17:20) – “He who has a deceitful heart finds no good, And he who has a perverse tongue falls into evil.” Do not trust in worldly things, because you will speak in worldly ways which can lead to trouble.

I. (Proverbs 19:1) - Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is perverse in his speech and is a fool.” Do not talk like a fool or you will be viewed lower than a poor person who lives morally. Nobody cares or likes the fool who talks without respect and goodness thinking he is tough stuff.

J. (Psalm 34:12-13) – “Who is the man who desires life, And loves many days, that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil, And your lips from speaking deceit.” [cf. 1 Peter 3:10] Do not use hateful and anger-filled language that tells lies towards others.

Second, let’s look at what the Bible teaches in the New Testament:
A. (Ephesians 4:29) – “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” Do not use curse words that tear people down, but use the right words to build people up and bless others.

B. (Ephesians 5:3-4) – “But among you there must not be either sexual immorality, impurity of any kind, or greed, as these are not fitting for the saints. Neither should there be vulgar speech, foolish talk, or telling dirty jokes – all of which are out of character – but rather thanksgiving.” Do use violent, immature, and inappropriate language that is contrary to being a Christian!

C. (Colossians 3:8) – “But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.” Do not use profanity and degrading language towards others.

As Christians, we need to avoid using worldly speech. The Scriptures are not telling you rules about “don’t do this and don’t do that,” but rather teaching us commandments to live by in obedience to the Lord. We should glorify God and be faithful to the calling he has called us to by living as a new creation in Christ! We once were sinners and now we are saints, so we need to behave and speak in propriety. All of the Scriptures we looked at talk about what not to say and how we should speak as Christians. Therefore, we should come to a realization that the underlining principle of all of these Scriptures is to teach us to speak like a true follower and disciple of Jesus Christ who has been justified and is being sanctified by God’s truth. Effective faith

2. Speak with Purity (4:6b)
(4:6b) “Seasoned with salt” – Paul is teaching us to talk salty. Why salt? Why not sugar? Salt was a preserver for meat in the ancient days that kept food from corruption.

Paul is echoing the famous Sermon on the Mount taught by Jesus in Matthew 5:13 [cf. Mark 9:49-50, Luke 14:34-35]: "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.”

Jesus is teaching his disciples to be a preservative of grace and truth that is pure and undefiled, which causes no corruption. Also, in Leviticus 2:13, the priests would use salt on the sacrifices to purify the offerings. This being said, salt was seen as something pure. Paul is simply saying the same thing: Be a person who speaks with pure and undeniable grace that demonstrates through faith in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. This type of speech would clearly define and show you are a follower of Jesus. Paul wants Christians to be known for being Christians, not Colossians - worldly people. Therefore, we are to talk like Christ and have our speech reflect the grace and purity of the glorious ospel we believe!

Wrapping Up.
(4:6c) - We should speak with grace and goodness, while being pure and truthful so we “may know how you ought to answer one another.” It is all about talking in such a way that glorifies God and shares the Gospel.

God gave us a mouth to worship, not to curse. God gave us mouth to teach people the Gospel, not be quite. God gave us mouth to build people up, not bring them down.

3 Things to consider that we need to do:
1. We need to obey God’s word and be an example to others.

2. We need to be a witness by the way we speak. People are known for the words they speak.(You can always forgot a situations, but it is harder to forget statements.)

3. We need to seize the opportunity to share the gospel as we talk with others.

Questions to ask yourself:
Are you swearing, using profanity, sexual or racial language that is ungodly?
Do you demonstrate God’s character at school and home through your speech?
When is the last time you used your speech to glorify God and share the gospel?

Live for the Lord by the way you speak and people will see the Light!

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