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Sunday, September 16, 2007 am
HOW SHOULD I USE MY TONGUE? (2)
Positive, Proper Use
Last week we began a study of the proper use of the tongue. We noted a number of passages that show the good that can come from choosing our words wisely. We also noted some steps we can take to help us regulate our conversations. In our lesson today, we want to focus on some positive, intended uses for the tongue.
Last week we mentioned that our ability to communicate is a blessing from God. It is NOT a curse, nor a necessary evil. Our communication skills set us apart from the rest of God’s creation in this world. We speak to others on a daily basis and often. Some love to talk more than others, and that is not wrong (provided we put the guard where it needs to be) or a bad thing. We can PROPERLY use our tongues to simply convey facts in all avenues of life. And these are not necessarily religious facts. We speak to others in business, in our homes, classrooms, affairs of the economy, or just talking with one another, etc. This is a good thing as we continue to learn and develop relationships with one another through communication. But, as Christians, spiritual thoughts ought to continually be on our mind and our conversations ought to frequently convey that message to all whom we come in contact with. Words that describe the conversation of Christians include: wholesome, tactful, timely, studied, consistent, and calm .Also, there are specific uses for our tongues that are outlined in the Bible. Let us notice a few of those.
I. I. Using our tongues to praise and worship God
a. We continually emphasize the importance of praising God. He is worthy of our praise (2 Samuel 22:4). It is something we ought to do frequently with our lips. We certainly praise God when we assemble together, but it should be more often than that. Why? Because that is something that will help to keep Him on our minds.
mention this -
Psalm 22:22, “I will declare You name to my brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will praise You.”
Psalm 63:3, “Because your loving-kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You.”
Psalm 71:23, “My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing to You, and my soul which You have redeemed. My tongue also shall talk of Your righteousness all the day long.”
c. Hebrews 13:15 says, “Therefore, let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.”
d. Acts 16:35 – Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God. It led to an opportunity to teach.
e. NOTE: This is not saying that we need to go around all the time saying, “Praise God” as such could become vain repetition, but we ought to express our gratitude to Him and it is certainly not wrong to say that occasionally.
II. II. Using our tongues to teach the lost
responsibility we have as Christians is to teach others the word of God.
Remember 1 Peter 3:15 which speaks of us being ready to give a defense for the hope that is in us.
The word “preach” means “to bring good news, to announce glad tidings” (The word evangelize).
Another word translated preach means, “to herald.” (Gal. 2:2, Col. 1:23)
b. Romans 10:17 – notes that faith comes by hearing the word of God. And that is accomplished by the preaching of the gospel (14-15).
concerning Jesus, “Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying…”
Acts 8:35 says that “Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at that scripture, preached Jesus to him.”
Acts 10:34, Peter opened his mouth to Cornelius and his household.
III. III. Using your tongue to teach the saved
a. Gospel preachers proclaim the gospel to the lost, as just mentioned. That is a part of their job. But they ALSO are to teach their brethren.
b. 2 Timothy 2:2 – commit the word to faithful men…
Much of what
Paul wrote to Timothy concerned his dealing with brethren.
2 Timothy 4:2-4 – to preachers, they are to preach the word. And in that text it is directed toward brethren.
d. Ephesians 4:11 speaks of God giving some to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers (all instructors of the word of God) for the purpose of building up the body of Christ (12). Vs. 15-16 speaks of the result of such teaching – the body of Christ grows.
Most of Paul’s
letters were written to Christians (and churches) instructing them as to what
they ought to be doing.
Apollos was explained the way of God more accurately (Acts 18:25)
In Acts 20:7 Paul preached til midnight to the church (the disciples) in Troas.
f. But in addition to preachers, we all ought to take advantage of opportunities to teach the saved that which we have learned. That is a benefit of Bible classes where all can participate and communicate.
IV. IV. Using our tongues to encourage and exhort one another.
a. Another way we teach the saved (and those whom we have the chance to impact with our lives) is by being encouraging to them.
b. We all need encouragement from time to time. Especially considering the times in which we live. The world seems to be more negative than ever. News is bad. Personally, we are facing more pressures and temptations. Because of this many need to be encouraged and exhorted to hang in there and to stand up for what is right.
and exhortation are both biblical concepts -
The word exhort is used several times. It is a word that means, “To urge one to pursue some course of conduct.” (Vine’s) Acts 2:40 finds Peter exhorting his audience to “be saved from this perverse generation.”
Hebrews 10:25 – we are to exhort one another,
Heb. 3:13 – we are to exhort one another daily.
Ephesians 4:29 says, “let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.”
Encouragement, as used in the Bible means the same thing as exhort. In English, it means to inspire with courage or confidence (Random House Dictionary, www.dictionary.com).
1 Thess. 3: - Timothy was sent to encourage them.
Colossians 2:2 – Paul’s desire is that those of Laodicea be encouraged
Rom. 1:12 – Paul also wanted to be encouraged by them.
Comfort is found – 1 Thess. 4:18 tells us to comfort one another. See also 5:14.
d. All of these can involve our conversations with others. In fact, speaking words of encouragement and comfort is sometimes the only thing one can do or the primary way we fulfill these instructions.
V. V. Using our tongues to confess –
a. To confess means to speak in agreement with. A different word, with the same root means to acknowledge openly and joyfully OR to admit something.(W.E. Vine’s, also TNDT – Kittel). Both these ideas are addressed in scripture.
calls for confession – Romans 10:9-10 speaks of with our mouth confessing the
Lord Jesus Christ.
Matthew 10:32 also uses the word in this way, meaning we must acknowledge our belief in Him continually.
There is also a
time to confess our sins –
James 5:16 calls for a time to confess our sins to one another.
1 John 1:8-9 also tells us as Christians we need to confess our sins to God.
VI. VII. Using our tongues to praise those who are worthy.
a. When one does good, he or she is worthy of being complimented. This should not be false flattery, as such is condemned. But when one deserves to be praised, let us praise such.
b. Prov. 27:2 says, “Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; A stranger, and not your own lips.”
John 1:47 gives
an example of Jesus complimenting Nathaniel, where He said, “Behold, an
Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit.”
Consider the compliments made by Paul to churches and brethren. Throughout His epistles, he had words of praise WHERE THEY WERE DUE! We should do the same.
VII. VIII. Using our tongues by speaking the truth in love –
In dealing with
the proper use of the tongue we MUST mention the attitude that accompanies our
conversations. You can say the right thing but still be wrong, if it is
accompanied with an improper attitude. You can tell the truth religiously and
do more damage than good because of the manner in which you speak.
It is possible to preach the truth with impure motives - Paul spoke of those who taught the truth, but without love in Philippians 1:15-16.
b. Ephesians 4:15 speaks of speaking the truth in love. It is called for if we are to build up the brethren and the body is to grow. NOTE that it is to be delivered IN LOVE which means with kindness and concern for one another.
c. Our speech must be with grace, seasoned with salt - Col. 4:6
d. Ephesians 4:32 calls for us to be kind to one another. This comes after describing the types of attitudes and evil speaking that we are to put away.
These are some of the good things we can and ought to be doing with our tongues. Truly, our ability to communicate IS a blessing IF we use it as God intended. And a part of that is knowing what your abilities really are and accepting them. How are you using your tongue?