Biblical Communication (1)

14 April 2019 AM – Ephesians 4:25-31 – Scott Childs

Introduction: This is the first in a couple of messages I want to preach on Biblical Communication. For years, I have talked about preaching at least once each month on the family. Perhaps this will get me started.

I asked Google, “What is the number one problem in marriage?” I learned that many marriage counsellors put communication at the top of the list. Yes, other issues cause problems, but communication is at the very root of nearly every conflict.

Many Christian couples have no clue how to talk through their differences of opinions peacefully. They seldom truly listen to their spouse’s opinion, seek to understand, and calmly discuss it. They fail to look for Bible principles and pray together, asking God for wisdom. They are unwilling to make cheerful compromises on non-essentials. The husband is often unwilling or not allowed to make the final decision as the leader God called him to be. Instead, they get angry, raise their voices, say unkind things, pout if they do not get their way, and rub it in if the choice turns out to be a poor one. If this sounds all too familiar, listen carefully and ask God to improve your communication skills.

Transition: Today, I want us to consider four instructions God gives us on communication in Ephesians chapter four.

God’s first communication instruction is to …

1.        Be Truthful (Eph 4:25)

a.         God says we must put away lying.

1)         What is lying? It is saying things that are not true. It is denying what is true. It is deceiving or twisting the truth. It is leaving out important facts.

2)         Why is lying so harmful to communication?

a)         Lying disobeys God (v.25). (Colossians 3:9) “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;

b)         Lying destroys trust. We struggle to believe those who have lied to us. Solomon describes an untrustworthy liar. (Proverbs 26:25) “When he speaketh fair, believe him not: for there are seven abominations in his heart.

c)         Lying hurts others. It corrupts the truth and causes pain. (Proverbs 25:18) “A man that beareth false witness against his neighbour is a maul, and a sword, and a sharp arrow.

d)         Lying requires more lies to cover them up. Eventually, the pile of lies will collapse. Truth will stand, but lies will crumble. Remember, God knows the truth!

b.         God says we must speak the truth.

1)         Speaking the truth pleases God.

2)         Speaking the truth strengthens communication.

God’s second communication instruction is to …

2.        Be Careful (Eph 4:26-27)

a.         Anger destroys communication.

1)         If anger is harmful, why does this verse say, “be ye angry”? The Greek word is a passive, imperative. The action is being done to the subject. We could translate it as “allow yourself to be provoked.”

2)         The next phrase is “and sin not.” If we stay calm when someone provokes us, it is not sinful, but angry outbursts are sinful and harmful to communication.

3)         Angry sinful responses include, hate, murder, fighting, harm, breaking things, throwing things, swearing, rash promises, and name-calling.

4)         God clearly condemns angry outbursts.

a)         (Proverbs 14:17) “He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly: and a man of wicked devices is hated.

b)          (Proverbs 25:28) “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.

5)         Be careful! At the root of most anger is selfishness and pride. We get angry because they hurt MY property or they did not do it MY way.

6)         Sadly, many marriages have ended in divorce and many friendships shatter because of angry words and actions.

b.         Be careful how you react.

1)         God condemns anger, but we are able, with His help, to quash that riled up feeling when we are provoked.

2)         When evil things take place that anger our spirit, we must be careful not to allow ourselves to respond sinfully. Our old nature wants to respond in an outburst of anger, but God wants us to depend on Him to stay calm. (Proverbs 15:1) “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” Pray for strength to stay calm. Guard your spirit. Confess your sin to those you hurt, including God, when you do get angry.

3)         Angry people often use excuses like “Anger just runs in my family” or “The other person made me angry”.

4)         Getting angry and blaming others is neither right nor helpful. I believe Emmerson Eggrichs was right when he said, “My response is always my responsibility.” We have no right to blame others for how we react to their hurtful actions or words. God holds us accountable! Be careful!

God’s third communication instruction is to …

3.        Be Helpful (Eph 4:29-30)

a.         Let no corrupt communication come out.

1)         Corrupt communication speaks of shameful and hurtful words. This does not just refer to filthy words.

2)         If God recorded your last heated discussion with your spouse or another person and played it for us this morning here in church, would the words and tones you used shame you? If so, they were corrupt.

3)         God says we must not allow any corrupt words to come out of our mouths. To avoid this, we need God’s help. Up in verses 22-24, God tells us to put off the bad, be renewed, and put on the good.

b.         Let good and edifying words minister grace.

1)         Our words are to be good, pleasant, excellent, upright and honourable words.

a)         Our words must be gracious or helpful. (Colossians 4:6) “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

b)         Choose words that have a pleasant taste. Think before you respond. Rash words will get in trouble.

2)         We are to speak edifying words. They are words that build up rather than tear down. They give grace to those who may not deserve it.

God’s fourth communication instruction is to …

4.        Be Unresentful (Eph 4:31)

a.         Resentment or bitter feelings harm communication

1)         Note God’s list of resentful actions (v.31).

a)         Bitterness is resentment that makes you cringe.

b)         Wrath and anger are outbursts of hot displeasure.

c)         Clamour is yelling

d)         Evil speaking is slander, name calling, hurtful words.

e)         Malice is the desire for revenge.

2)         Resentment adds to the problem. It often leads to regretful reactions. It hurts you far more than it hurts the one who provoked you. It robs your joy and fellowship with God.

b.         We must put away from us all resentment.

1)         This is a command not a suggestion. The words “put away” literally mean to pick it up and carry it away.

2)         How can you put away resentment?

a)         Realise that your response is always your responsibility.

b)         Admit your guilt, making no excuses.

c)         Confess it as sin to God and to the offender.

d)         Begin praying FOR the offender. Ask God to remove your resentment.

e)         Forgive the offender. We will see more on this in the next verse.

Conclusion: Whether we are married or single, young or old, we need biblical communication. Good biblical communication is truthful, careful, helpful and unresentful. If your communication has not been biblical, God holds you responsible to make needed changes. Do not make excuses or blame others. Remember, your response is always your responsibility. God will help you if you humble yourself and seek His help.

Song: Teach Me Thy Way, O Lord – 337