How Not to Walk, Part 17 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #263)

spiritual-warfare

A series of homilies on Ephesians.

A homily is “a short talk on a religious or moral topic; a usually short sermon; a lecture or discourse on or of a biblical theme.”


I am sharing a verse-by-verse series of short messages on Ephesians (as well as other passages of Scripture) specifically targeted at reviving families and encouraging and exhorting husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, and children to do what God has commanded them to do, for if the church is to be revived and the country is to be awakened, the family must be revived first.

TEXT: Ephesians 4:29:

29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

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Martin Luther said, “If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the Word of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Him. Where the battle rages there the loyalty of the soldier is proven; and to be steady on all the battle front besides is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “Christianity is not a sinning-repenting religion! It’s a victorious religion! There should be a place where you quit your sinning!”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “Those who were subjected to the ‘jerks’ acknowledged that it was ‘laid upon them’ as a chastisement for disobedience, or a stimulus to incite them to some duty… The quickest method of warding off the jerks and other disagreeable exercises was to engage in the ‘voluntary dance.’ Shouting and heartfelt singing, hand shaking and clapping, altar calls and dancing, ‘jerks’ and ‘falling in the Spirit’—all these extraordinary responses to God’s presence soon seemed ordinary in the ‘agitations’ of the Cane Ridge Revival.”

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Based upon this verse, I trust that you are committed to not speaking in a corrupt manner. I trust that you are also committed to using your words to build others up in the Lord. But, in a world that is constantly testing us, trying us, and tempting us — not to mention the devil and our own flesh — how can we ensure that what comes out of our mouths “is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers”?

First, we must realize that the ministry of grace is an extension of the grace of God as shown through Jesus Christ. Jesus showed God’s grace to us, giving us that which we did not deserve, when He came to Earth. When we speak, our words ought to be an extension of God’s grace to others, meaning that if we are ill spoken to or if someone has wronged us, we do not have to respond in kind. Rather, we can show the other person grace with our words.

The word “grace” means that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness, good will, loving-kindness, or favor. Do these words describe your everyday manner of speaking?

Obviously, graceful language will not be the same in every circumstance. What may sound kind and loving to one person may be harsh and stern to another. You wouldn’t speak to a remorseless criminal the way you would speak to a young child. That is why we must trust the Holy Spirit to speak through us. He knows the best thing to say to each person we come in contact with. Our mouths ought to be His mouthpiece. Wayne Barber said this command “fits whatever situation you are in. The Holy Spirit will give you words that can build up. That doesn’t mean that you are never to confront. That doesn’t mean you don’t address problems. But it does mean that whatever you do, you do it with an attitude of building up and not tearing down.”

One poet contrasted the uses of our words like this:

A careless word may kindle strife.
A cruel word may wreck a life.
A bitter word may hate instill;
A brutal word may smite and kill.
A gracious word may smooth the way;
A joyous word may lighten the day.
A timely word may lessen stress;
A loving word may heal and bless.

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