Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Watch your mouth! - October 4th, 2011

25 Therefore, putting away lying, Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,”[e] for we are members of one another. 26 “Be angry, and do not sin”:[f] do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil. 28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. 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. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
Ephesians 4:25-32
History and Context:
The book of Ephesians is quite different than the other letters written by Paul. Due to it's lack of personal greetings, many scholars see it more as a written sermon than an actual letter. In fact, it is likely that it was actually written to multiple churches in the area of Ephesus and was meant to be passed around from church to church. Paul wrote this letter from jail, as he did with Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. One of his largest messages in the book of Ephesians is the plan of God to bring every nation and background together in Christ. As in many other places there was probably great conflict between the Gentiles and the Jewish Christians, so Paul stressed that for God there is no nationality. He wants to bring all to Him.

The Text:
There is a lot of instruction in this passage. Paul is sharing with the Ephesians some basic guidelines for a Christian's actions. These are the morals that one, who is following Christ, should follow. Just before this passage Paul talks about the process of putting off the old man and putting on the new. In other words, this is a continuation of a discussion about the transformation that should happen when we become Christians. We were one person and have now transformed into a new person, a better person, through the blood of Christ. The part that I want to focus on is how often Paul refers to our words. We would think that in a description of what the new man looks like there would be a focus on actions, but Paul seems to focus on what we speak out. What words come out of our mouth; put away lying and speak the truth, let no corrupt word come out but instead speak words of edification, let all evil speaking be put away from you. Paul does also refer to actions but most of what he refers to in this passage is words and attitudes.

The Challenge:
Watch your mouth! Paul's focus on words in this passage shows us the importance our speaking has on completing the transformation that we embarked on with our decision to follow Christ. Words have the power of convincing us to believe something, when we truly believe that thing our actions then follow. Therefore if we can simply change our words, we can change our beliefs, which will then change our actions. Watch what you say today, both to yourself and to those around you.

The Prayer:
Lord, help me to watch my words today. Help me to control my tongue. Help me to speak out truth in your Word. Thank you Lord! In Jesus' name, Amen!

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