Careful What You Say

by Jeffrey W. Hamilton

Text: Ephesians 5:1-8


I.         There is a passage that should cause each of us to pause - Matthew 12:32-37

            A.        We will give an account to God for every idle word we speak!

            B.        What we say will either justify us or condemn us

            C.        We will not be able to avoid facing our past. God is all knowing.

II.        In all that we say, we must show respect and reverence for God

            A.        After all, God is the creator of the universe and He is our Lord

                        1.         We ought to speak of him respectfully.

                        2.         We ought to hold our God in awe.

                        3.         Consider how you behave in front of an important person, such as the president of your company or the president of the country

                                    a.         We are on our best behavior.

                                    b.         We choose our words carefully. Now is not the time to put our foot in our mouth.

                        4.         Yet, when are we ever not in the presence of God?

            B.        In the model prayer, Jesus instructed his disciples to call God’s name “hallowed” - Matthew 6:9

                        1.         Hallowed means to hold something as holy, sacred, or revered

            C.        The Israelites were warned not to take God’s name in vain - Deuteronomy 5:11

                        1.         Vain means to make something useless, such as an idle remark, to bring to ruin.

                        2.         It derives from a word that means to rush over something, to be careless with something

                        3.         How often have you heard someone use God or Jesus’ name as an exclamation?

                                    a.         They are not thinking about God.

                                    b.         It is just filler. You could say “Oh, Wow!” and have the same impact.

                                    c.         Are you careless with the name of God?

            D.        Leviticus 19:12 - Do not profane the name of the Lord

                        1.         Profane means to wound, defile, or pollute

                        2.         Have you heard people invoke the name of God in a string of corrupt and disgusting words?

                        3.         Have you heard God called upon in events that violate the will of God?

            E.        God’s name is also polluted by people who call themselves his children but disobey his will

                        1.         Israel disobeyed God, causing God’s name to be profaned by the non-believers - Ezekiel 36:20-23

                        2.         When we call ourselves Christians, but then lie, cheat, and steal, we are polluting the name of Christ.

III.       Another category of words we must be careful about is cursing

            A.        Cursing is to make light of something serious, to bring a serious matter into contempt, to show no respect, evil or wicked talk.

            B.        In discussing how everyone sins, a verse is quoted to show that people’s mouths are fulling of cursing - Romans 3:14

            C.        Under the Old Testament law, cursing your mother or father was punishable by death. - Mark 7:10

            D.        Solomon warned not to curse the king or the rich - Ecclesiastes 10:20

                        1.         They can do something about the matter

            E.        In a moment of weakness, Peter cursed to “prove” he wasn’t a follower of Christ - Matthew 26:73-74

            F.        Consider when a person stubs their toe on a chair and mutters words to the effect of condemning the chair to eternal punishment.

                        1.         Does a chair have a soul? Is hell real? Can a non-living object spend eternity in hell?

                        2.         Do you desire to see anyone go to hell? Doesn’t hell scare you?

                        3.         Then why treat the topic in a flippant manner?

                        4.         “Oh, I didn’t really mean it.” That’s the point!

IV.      We must also be careful about inappropriate talk

            A.        In describing the wicked, Paul talks about those who are profane - I Timothy 1:9

                        1.         Profane means to wound, to defile, or to pollute.

            B.        Paul talks about things that should not be associated with Christians - Ephesians 5:1-8

                        1.         To not to be named means that when topics such as who is sleeping around, who lives an impure life, or who uses other people for their own goals, the last person you would think of is a Christian.

                        2.         How do we accomplish this feat? We never leave the impression that we do these things or approve of them.

                        3.         Filthiness

                                    a.         Talk that is obscene or shameful.

                                    b.         We should not be sprinkling our language with words dealing with bodily functions or sexual actions.

                                    c.         Not just words, but gestures as well

                        4.         Foolish talk

                                    a.         Talk that is absurd, stupid, or dull of wit

                                    b.         Every generation has jokes about the disgusting. When I was in High School “dead baby” jokes were all the rage.

                                    c.         Teasing people of sleeping around.

                        5.         Coarse jesting

                                    a.         Vulgar jokes, such as commonly told in locker rooms.

                                    b.         Jokes were sexual matters are the punch line.

V.        Perhaps you are congratulating yourself

            A.        “I always knew those things were bad, though I might not have realized why they were wrong.”

            B.        Yet, many people, including many Christians, engage in this type of language daily and never think about it.

            C.        You see, we commonly dress things up in “polite words” to make things seem better than they really are.

                        1.         They are called “euphemisms,” where we called the garbage man a “sanitation engineer” because that sounds better.

                        2.         Euphemisms don’t change the mean, just the words. A sanitation engineer still picks up the garbage.

                        3.         Euphemisms are non-offending words that are used in substitution for bad words.

            D.        People do this constantly, especially with exclamations.

                        1.         What is the meaning of the following?

                        2.         Using God’s name in vain

                                    a.         Gosh, golly, gee, goodness, gee-whiz

                                    b.         If you look these works up, you will find that as exclamations they refer to God or Jesus

                                    c.         Not only is God being referred to casually, we corrupt His holy name in the process!

                        3.         Cursing

                                    a.         Heck, darn

                        4.         Inappropriate talk

                                    a.         Bull, Shoot (depends on the dictionary)

                                    b.         Sometimes we just use initials, such as B.S.

                        5.         If you are uncertain, look up your exclamations in a dictionary. Usually a college dictionary is more blunt and to the point.

VI.      We must bridle our tongue - James 1:26

            A.        And it is so hard to control - James 3:3-6

            B.        As Christians, we must also speak well because we represent God to the world - Colossians 4:6

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