Ephesians 4:29-32 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.30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
Last week we were left with a challenge to: ‚Äúchoose our words wisely. Let‚Äôs determine in our heart what effect our words will have (yes that which we say and type). Let‚Äôs ask ourselves, ‚Äėwill our words lift up or tear down?‚Äô‚ÄĚ Of those that accepted the challenge, how well did you perform? You may have discovered there was less speaking in your day than before. I have received countless testimonies over that simple fact, that by ‚Äėchoosing our words wisely considering whether they will lift up or tear down‚Äô people found they naturally had less to speak about in ‚Äėcommon conversations‚Äô throughout the day.
That is the practice of the Ephesians 4.29a ‚Äúlet no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth...‚ÄĚ. The word ‚Äėlet‚Äô means ‚Äėallow‚Äô, ‚Äėpermit‚Äô or ‚Äėgive permission‚Äô, when followed by the word ‚Äėno‚Äô it is easy to decipher that we are to ‚Äėprohibit‚Äô, ‚Äėdisallow‚Äô or ‚Äėprevent‚Äô the proceeding of corrupt communication from our mouth. Jesus Christ said: ‚ÄúBut those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart...‚ÄĚ (Matthew 15:18). Jeremiah said: ‚ÄúThe heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?‚ÄĚ (Jeremiah 17:9). I personally believe we are aware when corrupt words proceed from the mouth of believers, those words orginated in the heart which is desperately wicked. Nevertheless, the admonition from the mighty Apostle is to ‚Äėprevent‚Äô those corrupt words from going on from our mouth. It really does not matter how true they (words) are, we must examine our words according to our manner, motive, and matrix.
Every word we say effects our manners (I Cor 15.33), even-so our motive for the words we say must be examined asking ourselves ‚Äúwhat am I attempting to achieve?‚ÄĚ, ‚Äúis there a reason of self preservation or sacrifice involved?‚ÄĚ Many times the true motives of ‚Äėcorrupt communication‚Äô are masked by ‚Äėneeding to talk to someone‚Äô. In the shadow of Ephesians 4.29, it is prudent for us to examine our motives of that which continues out of our mouth.
Moreover, the matrix of our words must be considered. A matrix is a pattern, a structural mould that shapes or reshapes the image of another in the minds of the ‚Äėhearers‚Äô. It is my personal conviction that Christ is referring to this aspect of what we say when He stated: ‚Äú...That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof...‚ÄĚ(Matthew 12:36). You may disagree and that is fair, but I would rather err on the side of caution, before idly speaking to comfort myself and altering the image of a fellow brother and sister of the Lord in the mind of another soul. Even more-so, altering the image of my Lord and Savior in the minds of those that are lost.
The practice of Ephesians 4.29a enables the purpose of remainder of the verse, namely the latter portion: ‚Äúthat it may minister grace unto the hearers‚ÄĚ. For years I have strove to clearly and keenly grasp the full teaching of this verse, even though the practice is difficult, the purpose is plain. Yet, even by understanding the verse, do we thoroughly understand what it means to minister grace?
The term ‚Äėminister‚Äô is in the action or verb usage in this verse, which means ‚Äėto give‚Äô or ‚Äėto bestow a gift‚Äô. In this context we are exhorted to ‚Äėgive‚Äô grace unto the hearers or those that witness our life and hear our words.
There are many facets to ministering grace unto the hearers, one in particular builds upon the thought of edifying (lifting up). The world we live in teaches our young people they have come from nothing and when they die they will go to nothing. Therefore they surmise they are nothing. That is a discouraging and disheartening outlook of life. It is no wonder that suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among ages 5-14 year olds and the third leading cause of death among 15-24 year olds. An entire generation has been conditioned that they are accidents in the cosmos and at the end of their accidental existence it all ends, the lights go out.
Jesus Christ felt very different, He did not see them or anyone as ‚Äėnothing‚Äô, but rather something and someone. So much so, that He gave His only earthly life, suffering a shameful death He did not deserve so those those feel or are taught they are nothing can realize they are so important, the God of universe and Creator of all things made an appointment for them personally, that they may live eternally.
These words are simple, but true and will minister grace to the hearers. Despite one‚Äôs crimes, convictions or coincidence the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ is for them that they may live; So they may receive and accept the forgiveness of sins. ‚Äú...that it may minister grace unto the hearers.‚ÄĚ Ephesians 4.29c
Dr. B. J. Stagner Jr.
Pastor Stagner has preached in many different countries and continues to preach the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ in the manner that it is intended from the...