Word Alive! © 2022 Fall Series Connected! Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor Tuesday, 29 Nov. 2022, Lesson 4, Part 2
Thom S. Rainer, Connected – My Life In the Church (Session 4)
Devotional Time: Thom S.Rainer, Connected, Chapter 4 (pp. 34-43)
Connected Through Healthy Words – Our words have tremendous power and efficacy. God “spoke” and all of creation came into existence. The directives and laws God gave His people came from the spoken word; and was later written down as a perpetual memorial of His will. God places great importance on our words; for within them is contained the essence of our thoughts, identity, and behavioral motivation. Some words we share are kind and obvious; while others can be misleading (Read Proverbs 16:24, NLT; Compare, Proverbs 23:6-7, NKJV). The condition of a person’s heart determines what they really thinking. The scriptures encourage God’s people to speak with wholesome/healthy words, and to be considerate of others at all times. The wisdom literature of the Old Testament often gives comparisons between what is healthy communication, and what is unhealthy communication. Possessing wisdom guarantees a healthy life, where mature communication with others will enhance life, itself (Read, Proverbs 24:13-14, NLT). Wisdom often is personified (illustrated) as a guide or teacher in life; who mentors us in developing godly thoughts and moral values. God is described as “detesting” conversation that’s derived from “evil thoughts.” He delights in “pure words.” Such words are not padded with bias, untruth, and false perceptions (See, Proverbs 15:26, NLT). Jesus said that His mission in coming to earth was to “heal broken hearts.” (See, Luke 4:18, NKJV). As the body of Christ on earth, the Church, we are called to continuing carrying the mission forward. We can be healing and hopeful, like good medicine, in the way we communicate with each other (Read, Proverbs 17:22, NLT). Frederick William Faber, a nineteenth century theologian and hymn writer said: “With the help of grace, the habit of saying kind words is very quickly formed, and when once formed, it is not speedily lost.” We cannot easily lose what we commit ourselves to. We are not merely called to believe as Christians; but we are called “to be Christians.” This means we must listen to the teachings of Scripture, so we can hear the voice of God, and the teachings of Christ our Lord, directing our lives. One such teaching was/is commended to God’s people to help them connect through healthy words, emanating from a spiritually mature character (See, Proverbs 3:20-27, NLT).
What our words can do as we seek effective connection with others:
a. Words can motivate, encourage, and inspire.
b. In the Church, words can bring hope and direction.
Connected Through Healthy Words, Part 2 – Just as words can be helpful in connecting with fellow Christians, some words can bring consternation, confusion and hurt. As author/pastor Thom Rainer points out in his study book, Connected, the old adage, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but talk will never harm me,” is patently untrue. Words can hurt, whether intended or unintentional. As we connect with each other as Christians, we are challenged to practice God’s love, forgiveness, care, and kindness. The Apostle Paul told the Christians in Philippi, whether he visited them in person; or communicated with them from afar, he hoped that their lives demonstrated maturity in living, serving, and communicating with each other. Paul said: “Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other; loving one another and working together with one mind and purpose.” (Philippians 2:2, NLT). Paul further urged the Christians in Philippi: “Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” (v. 4). They were to take on the servant character of Christ. Although some of the language we’re given in the scriptures are couched in strong words; the terminology speaks to the “urgency” of change that is necessary in conforming to a godly character. Such is the language Paul uses when he addressed the Ephesian Christians. The language is direct, truthful; and hopeful for Christians of any era. We are encouraged to be “wholesome” in both our conversation and treatment of other believers, for each of our benefit. To do less, would give the adversary a place in our lives (Read, Ephesians 4:25-32, NLT). The Greek word diabolus, is translated devil. It means, “the one who slanders or accuses; the one who cannot be trusted.” God blesses His people when we communicate truthfully with each other (Read, Zechariah 8:15-17, NLT). Behavior also is a mode of communication. We must safeguard ourselves against excessive anger; or, thoughts that could bring harm (cf. Psalm 4:4, NLT). Jesus said we are accountable for our words. We must seek the grace that tempers our spirits and thoughts, to avoid standing in condemnation because of our words (Read, Matt. 12:36, NLT; Also, Colossians 2:12, NLT).
__________________________KEY IDEA __________________________
What We Believe!
“We are connected through wholesome conversation.”
Our words do matter, and they reflect our spiritual maturity.
God blesses His people when they have healthy communication.
Proverbs 16:24, NLT
“Kind words are like honey –sweet to the soul and healing for the body.”
Proverbs 24:13-14 NLT
“My child eat honey for it is good, and the honeycomb is sweet to the taste. In the same way, wisdom is sweet to your soul. If you find it, you will have a bright future, and your hope will not be cut short.”
Proverbs 15:26, NLT
“The Lord detests evil plans, but He delights in pure words.”
Proverbs 17:22, NLT
“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit as a person’s strength.”
Proverbs 3:20-27, NLT
“My children, pay attention to what I say. Listen care-fully to my words. Don’t lose sight of them. Let them penetrate deep into your heart, for they bring life for those who find them, and healing to their whole body. Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Avoid all perverse talk; stay away from corrupt speech. Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path. Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil.”
Ephesians 4:25-32, NLT“
Stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. And “don’t sin by letting another control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil. If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”
Zechariah 8:15-17, NLT
“But now I am determined to bless Jerusalem and the people of Judah. So don’t be afraid. But this is what you must do: Tell the truth to each other. Render verdicts in your courts that are just and that lead to peace. Don’t scheme against each other. Stop your love of telling lies that you swear are the truth. I hate all these things, says the Lord.”
Psalm 4:4, NLT
“Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent.”
Matthew 12:36, NLT
“And I tell you this, you must give an account of on judgment day for every idle word you speak. The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.”
Colossians 2:12, NLT
Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tender-hearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”