#328 – SPEAK THE TRUTH (14/4/21)
On Sunday we continued with our series on discipleship from The Sermon on the Mount. This week we see that Jesus wants to teach us how to use our words. Jesus was confronting a culture in which telling the truth was optional. Against this He taught,
“All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”(Matthew 5:33-37).
For Christians, our word is our bond. We do the thing.. turn up…give the thing…we are dependable because we are bound to our word.
However, we don’t just speak honestly, we also speak ‘the truth’ - we speak in alignment with God’s word. Paul wrote,
‘In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. …’ (2 Timothy 4:1-4)
i) Preach the word
We may not all ‘preach’ but we are all to speak biblical truth in our everyday lives. Our conversations in and outside the church are to be pervaded with Gods’ truth,
‘Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.’ (Colossians 3:5-6)
May our non-Christian friends hear the goodness and compassion of God in the way that we speak.
ii) Correct, rebuke and encourage
Our words are also to correct, rebuke and encourage. Sometimes we have to challenge people when we believe that their behaviour is not in line with biblical standards or is harming themselves or others.
iii) With great patience
We are to keep on trying to help people with our words even when they seem to be like water off a duck’s back. We must do all we can not to fall into the trap of angry outbursts or passive-aggressive silence because people are not listening as we'd of hoped!
RESPONSE - CAREFUL INSTRUCTION
Paul ends by urging us to persevere in giving ‘careful instruction’. The application of this scripture needs to be adapted to your own relationships. But be sure of this, whether you are a Community Group Leader, a parent, a friend, talking to a work colleague... we can only give out what we’ve put in! Let’s be ‘carefully instructed’ so we can use our words for the good of others.
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY - SPEAK ON TARGET
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
Do you have an occasion that you'd like to share, when said something that you wish you had not?
Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group
On Sunday we continued with our series on discipleship from The Sermon on the Mount. This week we see that Jesus wants to teach us how to use our words.
Words are very powerful. Words lead to right or wrong thinking. Words lead to salvation or damnation. Words lead to health or corruption. Words lead to love or division...
Earlier in this series, we saw that Christians are ‘the salt of the earth’ (Matt. 5:13) and ‘the light of the world’ (Matt. 5:14). This has a massive bearing on how we use words. Jesus taught,
“Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfil to the Lord the vows you have made.’ But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.’ (Matthew 5:33-37)
Jesus was confronting a culture in which one’s word was more or less binding depending on what one swore on; If, to use a more contemporary example, I swear on my mother’s life then I really must do what I say!
Speak on target
The word ‘sin’ (Hamartia) means to miss the target - like an archer missing the target. To sin is to fail to hit the target of God’s will. In our use of words, we are to aim at the target in three regards:
i) Truth - Complete truthfulness is the target of our words. We don’t lie or exaggerate. We do what we say we’ll do etc.
ii) Alignment - Complete alignment with God’s truth is the target. We no longer just give our opinion or what pops into our heads unfiltered. We endeavour to speak what is according to God’s will revealed in scripture. Therefore, we seek to study God’s word.
iii) Love - words for the good of others is the target. Is what we’re about to say or write going to help this person or this situation?
Listen in order to speak
We’ve all failed with our words. We’ve failed to speak when we should have spoken. We’ve spoken when we should not have spoken. We’ve failed to listen and make people feel valued. We’ve lied. We’ve failed to keep our commitments. If you are truly sorrowful. If you repent of your sin. If you will listen, you will hear God say with complete honesty, “You are forgiven”!
With people hasty words can never be forgotten they can only be forgiven. With God, your words are forgotten and forgiven. They are nailed to the cross. The indelible stains have been washed away.
Those who keep hearing this - hearing the gospel - will be the kinds of people that speak on target!
1. Did God speak to you about anything in particular from Sunday's message or the blogs this week?
2. When and why are you tempted to be untruthful?
3. Do you have any practical, recent examples of adjusting your views and speech in alignment with God's word?
4. Our speech is to be loving - for the benefit of others. How does 'hearing' the gospel regularly help one to do this?
Serving, Investing and inviting
The way that we speak is a vital way of serving, investing and inviting. Let's take a moment to share and pray about this.
1) Do you take a genuine interest in others by asking good questions?
2) Who has God put into your life that we could pray for together?
2) How are you planning to serve invest and invite?
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